The Knicks had the third-best offense in the NBA last season. This season? Not quite.
New York enters play Saturday ranked 24th in points per possession.
So what's behind the steep drop-off? Here's a brief look at three factors that seem to be hurting the team:
1. Too much isolation: Entering play Wednesday, the Knicks led the NBA in percentage of isolation plays (13.2) but ranked 23rd in points per play in isolation (0.75), per Synergy Sports.
Those numbers may have changed slightly following the Knicks' overtime loss to Indy, but the question remains: Are the Knicks running too much isolation?
Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith thrive in isolation. Both players had success in such settings last season. But without the threat of the Raymond Felton/Tyson Chandler pick-and-roll, the isolation offense seems to be less effective.
Just take a look at these numbers on Anthony, per ESPN Stats & Information:
Prior to the Pacers game, Anthony was averaging 25.7 points, fourth most in the NBA. But among the 149 players who had logged at least 100 plays prior to Wednesday, Anthony ranked tied for 79th in points per play -- pretty dismal. The three players who were ahead of Anthony in scoring average prior to Wednesday's games (Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and LeBron James) ranked in the top 20 in points per play.
2. Where's the pick-and-roll? Last season, the Knicks used the Felton-Chandler pick-and-roll to create opportunities at the rim for Chandler or open looks on the perimeter. They ranked third in the NBA in points per play on pick-and-roll opportunities, per ESPN Stats & Info.
With Chandler and Felton out due to injury -- and Felton at less than 100 percent when he was playing -- the Knicks' pick-and-roll has fallen off the map.
Entering play Wednesday, the Knicks ranked 25th in points per play on the pick-and-roll (0.79), per ESPN Stats & Info.
They were 27th in points per game on pick-and-roll plays (23) and 26th in field goal percentage on pick-and-roll plays (36.8).
Their pick-and-roll defense has also been an issue.
Entering play Wednesday, they had allowed the fewest points per game on pick-and-roll plays (21.9) in the NBA. But you have to wonder why teams don't use the pick-and-roll more often against New York.
Woodson's club allowed 0.86 points per play on pick-and-roll plays prior to Wednesday's loss to Indy. That's the 18th-highest per-play rate in the league. (These numbers include passes off pick-and-rolls that lead to a shot attempt, free throw or turnover.)
3. What happened to the 3-for-all? The Knicks set an NBA record by attempting 2,371 3-pointers and making 891 last season.
This season, they are shooting 25.7 per game and are on pace to shoot 2,110. That's a steep decline. They are making 8.3 per game and are on pace to make 678, another huge decline.
Personnel has a lot to do with it. Three-point shooters Steve Novak, Jason Kidd and Chris Copeland are no longer on the roster. But the Knicks don't seem to be getting the same clean looks as they were last season.
According to Elias, they entered play Friday shooting 19.6 percent on corner 3s, the worst mark in the NBA. That would also be the worst mark over the past 15 seasons. It's a sign that the ball movement isn't as good as it was last season. It also tells you the Knicks have been less effective at exploiting double-teams.
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