"You have to think the game more. It's just more of a complex way that we play, [more complex] than we're used to playing," Smith said after the Knicks' third preseason game. "We're used to just catching and going, stuff like that. Now, cutting, making sure we're getting in our right spots. It's just a conscious effort I think."
The Knicks' new triangle offense has been hot and cold so far in the preseason.
They shot just 38 percent from the field and scored only 76 points in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday.
In their prior game, the Knicks scored 96 points and shot 53 percent from the floor.
Clearly, the offense is a work in progress.
The fluctuations are somewhat understandable, though.
Coach Derek Fisher is implementing an offensive system predicated on constant ball and player movement. Players are expected to read the defense and react accordingly in the triangle. It's a stark contrast from the isolation-based offense the Knicks ran under ex-head coach Mike Woodson.
"I think it's a conscious effort, honestly. It's trying to take the good shots, trying to make sure we run the offense and get the good shot," Smith said of the triangle. "Don't shoot the ball with 20 [seconds] on the shot clock, stuff like that."
Several players and Fisher have said it will be some time before the team runs the offense with any type of precision.
Smith made the same point last week when he said it would take "a few months" for the Knicks to run the triangle smoothly.
He offered a more specific timetable on Monday.
"To just play without thinking, I think it's going to take some time, at least 2-3 months," Smith said. "To understand what we're supposed to do when [the defense] take certain things away and stuff like that, it will take some time. But we're working towards it, so we'll get there."
Carmelo Anthony also knows it will take time, but he reiterated on Monday that he is committed to seeing it through.
"I don't have a choice but to make it work. We don't have a choice [but] to make it work. Whether it [happens] now or it [happens] later, we don't have a choice but to make this work. I told you all early on, I'm willing to take that chance to try to make it work and be patient with it."
Smith believes it will take a "big adjustment" for some of his teammates to get accustomed to the new ball movement-heavy offense.
"It's definitely a big adjustment, but I think it's an adjustment in the right direction," Smith said. "Learning how to play with other people is, I think [the right thing]. It shows [because] teams who won play together. It's not just Melo, it’s not just me, [Amar'e Stoudemire], whoever. It's everybody collectively touching the ball, making cuts, stuff like that, scoring the ball, getting assists. It's not just two or three people scoring."
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