Carmelo Anthony understands it — the difference between the Bulls and Heat versus his Knicks is defense. Last season the Bulls and Heat were both top five in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), the Knicks were 23rd giving up seven more points per 100. That won’t get it done.
And ‘Melo is committed to change it. No, not just by watching Tyson Chandler do all the work, but by defending himself.
Stop laughing city of Denver. He means it. Here is what he told Newsday.
“I get tired of hearing we don’t play defense, I don’t play defense,” he said after the game. “I just wanted to get out there and do it. I just wanted to show it….”
Long before the arrival of Tyson Chandler, Anthony said the Knicks “can be a great defensive team” and put himself out in front of that mission.
“I’ll lead that charge,” he said in October. “I’ll take that stance . . . At the end of the day, we will be a great defensive team.”
The Knicks are not going to be the Heat or Bulls defensively, but they don’t need to be. They are going to score a lot with Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, New York just needs to play good defense and they are going to win a lot.
Tyson Chandler alone can raise the Knicks to an average defensive team, but it will take a full commitment like Anthony is talking about to do any better. Well, honestly it’s going to take some better defensive players on the roster to make more big strides, but if the attitude is right it will be a big step.
We’ll see how long it lasts.
Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t come to New York so his wife could have a reality television show, he came there to win. He came to transform the Knicks from a decade of despair back into a team you had to respect. He came before there were other stars there.
And he knows the Knicks were basically a .500 team last season because they were 22nd in the league in defense (using points per possession). That’s the end of the where the changes have to take place.
Which is why Stoudemire told the New York Daily News he is excited to see Mike Woodson added to Mike D’Antoni’s staff as a defensive specialist.
“I think it’s great,” Stoudemire said Wednesday. “It’s definitely what we talked about, improving defensively. With the help of Mike (Woodson) it’s going to be really positive for us. But it’s up to us as players to take that commitment and implement it.”
A commitment from players is nice, but the Knicks need some personnel changes, too — they need a defensive minded big man in the middle. Their Tyson Chandler or Kendrick Perkins. No doubt Ronny Turiaf will give it his all but he is not the guy, there aren’t many of those guys. The Knicks need one because I don’t think “commitment” do defense will be enough with this roster. If they are going to be serious title contenders they need some defensive players to go with the scoring forward tandem.
Everyone agrees that the Knicks didn’t play much defense last season.
Whether you go points per game (28) or the superior points per possession (22) the Knicks were near the bottom of the league in defense. Part of that is that the roster is not exactly loaded with guys who think defense first and then having undersized Ronny Turiaf as your best choice as a big man trying to defend the paint. But part of it is system — Mike D’Antoni has never coached great defensive teams.
The Knicks front office wants that to change, according to the New York Daily News — they may force him to hire an assistant coach who will take over the defense. A defensive coordinator, if you will.
According to several sources, the front office will encourage D’Antoni to revamp his coaching staff to hire a defensive coach. In the past, D’Antoni has been reluctant to seek outside help, most famously refusing Steve Kerr’s request four years ago to hire Tom Thibodeau in Phoenix.
There are some assistants known for the defense who may be available, including Lawrence Frank, the Boston assistant and former Nets head coach (his contract is up this summer, although he is considered a head coaching candidate a few places, including Boston if Doc Rivers steps away).
This could be an issue on two fronts. One is autonomy of decisions — D’Antoni isn’t going to want another chef in the kitchen, he wants to make his own decisions.
Secondly, how does a new defensive system mesh with his seven-second-or-less offense? A defensive system like is run in Chicago and Boston (the Thibodeau system) has a team of guys deep in protecting the paint, which will slow their push up court. The Celtics and Bulls were 22 and 23 in the league in pace this season for a reason.
Walsh is in the middle of a couple of days of meetings with owner James Dolan. It is expected that at the end of this Walsh will be retained as team president for two more seasons. As much as anyone can expect logic from the Knicks owner, anyway.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Nobody is question that the Knicks defense has struggled since the trade. Not even the Knicks.
But Carmelo Anthony has figured out the problem — it’s the coach’s fault.
Well, that’s not exactly what he told the New York Post (via Slam), he blamed the complex and changing schemes. But who came up with those schemes….
“[We have to] come up with a scheme or a couple of schemes we’re going to stick with and do better at,” Anthony said yesterday. “Right now, one game we come in with one scheme. Another game we come in with a different scheme. I think it’s a bit confusing at times.”
It was the second straight day Anthony took issue with the team’s defensive game plan. Following Tuesday’s 119-117 loss at Indiana, Anthony questioned the defense on Tyler Hansbrough, who played like a beast in two games against the Knicks, notching 59 points and two consecutive career highs.
“I don’t think we made adjustments to him at the top of the key, especially after the game he had in the Garden,” Anthony said in the visitor’s locker room Tuesday. “I’d think we’d have made adjustments after that.”
Mike D’Antoni has tried to go with lineup adjustments to cover some iffy defenders he has to play (‘Melo, Amar’e Stoudemire, even Chauncey Billups), which is why you are seeing so much Toney Douglas, for one.
D’Antoni is not a great defensive coach, but he’s not as bad as his reputation. Based on points per possession, his Suns teams were middle of the pack defensively (their points per game looked bad because they played at such a fast pace). He can and does coach defense.
Anthony is blaming someone else for the defensive shortcomings of the team… that laughing you are hearing is coming from Nuggets fans in Denver. They’ve heard it all before.
Win three in a row, lose three in a row. Beat the Heat, get swept on a home-and-home by the Pacers.
Getting a read on the New York Knicks with Carmelo Anthony is hard because they are so erratic. They are 6-6 since the trade drama ended and have looked both like the team nobody wants to face in the first round and have looked like a team that will be swept right out of the playoffs.
Why? Their defense.
John Schuhmann over at NBA.com broke down the numbers and found that since the trade the Knicks offense has improved from 107.6 points per 100 possessions to 109.6. The problem is the defense went from giving up 106.1 points per 100 possessions to 109.2.
Since the break, the Knicks have the fourth-best offense in the league, but the 24th-best defense. And it’s not like they’ve been playing some offensive juggernauts in that stretch. In fact, eight of their last 12 opponents are in the bottom half of the league offensively. They allowed the Pacers to shoot 54 percent over two games in the last few days, after Indiana shot just 41 percent over their previous six games.
He went a step farther and noticed when Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are on the court together, they allow 110.9 points per 100 possessions. The offense is at 110.5. So, essentially it’s a wash. We’ll add that the Knicks still have done the best when just Stoudemire is on the floor.
I hear the Knicks fans argument now — we traded away our depth to get two stars together. The defensive players can be put in place around them, but getting two stars had to be the priority. That is how you win a title. Plus, Chauncey Billups has been out for a number of those games.
Valid points. But the numbers are showing what our eyes have already seen — the Knicks have their stars but still have a long way to go to be contenders for anything. And that fixing the defense has got to be the off-season priority.