It’s early, but it’s not been a pretty start to the season for the Knicks.
They are 1-3, with the 28th ranked defense and 27th ranked offense in the NBA. Their bench has been a mess. We expected some bumps early after Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah missed most of training camp, and they’ve had a tough schedule, but this has felt like a team that has no idea who it is or wants to be. The players, the coaching staff, management all seem to be on different pages — probably of different books.
Courtney Lee says the Knicks should “practice against more game-like situations” rather than practicing against the triangle offense. “We run the triangle, we practice against it a lot. I think we need to practice against pick and rolls, practice against other looks and whatnot and get comfortable with that because that’s what other teams are running.”
There’s some logic there. As there is in just putting Rose and Kristaps Porzingis in some pick-and-rolls during games (or pick-and-pops in his case) because there is a comfort level. Right now the Knicks look like a team without an identity — not a triangle team, not a running team, not a comfortable hybrid yet.
The Knicks are certainly not a defensive team — and the triangle isn’t fully to blame for that. Management putting together this roster, the coaches, and the players all get a share. Here is coach Jeff Hornacek after Wednesday’s loss to the Rockets, via the New York Post.
“It’s not like we haven’t done defense in practice,” Hornacek said. “Guys are offensive-minded guys, but we have to play both ends. Defense has been taught and preached. It’s half of practice every time. Sometimes guys just have to take it upon yourself to stop somebody. Not look for help.”
The hope is that with time they can find some kind of identity, that the ball will move and the team will become comfortable pushing the ball in transition then settling into the triangle if nothing develops. Eventually, they will start to get more stops.
The problem is a terrible start to the season could dig them a hole that’s tough to get out of for a team dreaming of the playoffs.