The Knicks recent (or more like 1/2 the season to date really) struggles have been well documented elsewhere by a whole slew of very talented writers. The common theme’s been a lack of perimeter defense and a tendency to revert to a more iso-centric offense. Based upon some assist numbers, it’s certainly a problem.
In the 28 games where the Knicks have recorded at least 19 assists, their record is 23-5. Now, only 10 of those games were against teams that would currently be in the playoffs, but the Knicks are 8-2 in said games. Whether it was the first 10 games of the year or the most recent 10, when the ball moves and assists are recorded, the team wins. Only between games 30 and 40, when they played 5 games with 19+ assists, the team was just slightly above average (3-2 in that stretch).
When recording less than 19 assists, the Knicks record is just 9-12. In those 21 games, 13 were played against teams who’d be in the playoffs if they started tomorrow (a record of only 4-9 in those games). Since January 1st, the Knicks have had 10 games where they recorded less than 19 assists. In those games, they are 3-7 (2-4 against playoff teams). It should be noted though that in the team’s first 7 games of the season when they went 6-1, 4 of those 6 wins occurred when the team recorded no more than 18 assists. As many remember, that stretch was won with great fourth quarter defense and unselfish play, yet the numbers aren’t supporting the latter memory.
All in all, these numbers beg the following question: Are the better teams stopping the Knick ball movement, or is this a self inflicted wound? It is probably a combination of both. The CAA-3 (Melo, JR Smith and Woodson) quite possibly revert to their old ingrained iso-centric tendencies against better opponents as a result of other action not working.
Nevertheless, if the Knicks don’t start caring about sharing once again, playing games and not golf in June will be a pipe dream.