The New York Knicks were shooting at a scorching rate of 42% over the past nine games. It started in the overtime victory against the Memphis Grizzlies on April 9th inside Madison Square Garden. Percentage-wise, the Knicks are currently fifth in the entire league at 39%. During the last nine games the Knicks have also been knocking down their free throws at a high rate, 84%. The overall shooting for the Knicks played a significant role in improving their record to 34-27, 4th best in a very competitive Eastern Conference.

Associated Press-Wendell Cruz

Tom Thibodeau Always Stressed the Significance of Taking Good Shots.

Getty Images-Michael Reaves

Tom Thibodeau has said on several occasions that good shot selection helps the team overall. Solid shot selection increases shots made, which eventually increases the confidence of the shooter. RJ Barrett and Julius Randle are perfect examples of how excellent shot selection can benefit ones overall game. Confidence from made perimeter shots has carried over to the free-throw line for Barrett and Randle as well. The former Duke star and Kentucky stars are spearheading the Knicks successful season, plus they get to the free throw line at a decent rate. Both are significantly better free-throw shooters as well. Increased field goal and free throw percentages helps the Knicks on the defensive end. It gives Tom Thibodeau’s troops time to set up defensively, which limits an opponent’s transition offense to a certain extent. It’s usually tough scoring off of a made basket, unless we’re dealing with Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire and the Mike D’Antoni led Phoenix Suns from 2004-10.

Derrick Rose has been an extension of Tom Thibodeau this season. If anybody knows the importance of shot selection, it’s Derrick Rose due to his NBA experience under Tom Thibodeau that dates back to their Chicago Bulls days together. Derrick Rose played a year in Memphis under John Calipari before he got drafted into the NBA, smart play has been embedded into a gifted player like Rose for a long time. Rose is now showing the Knicks roster what is needed to win through his play on the court on both ends. The former MVP has enough knowledge of the game to be an assistant coach right now, just like his fellow Chicago native colleague, Evan Turner, who accepted an assistant coaching position for the Boston Celtics replacing Kara Lawson.

Julius Randle & RJ Barrett’s Display of Confidence is Largely in Part to Better Shooting.

Having a coach that’s putting 120% into his players and the game is a beautiful experience to be a part of. If the coach confidently stamps down principles on how the ship will be ran, then the players will respond in a positive way. A culture of accountability has been set by the entire Knicks coaching staff. Julius Randle and RJ Barrett have bought into Tom Thibodeau’s system. This has resulted in them practicing what the Knicks coaching staff have been preaching in terms of shot selection and proper overall offensive play. The NBA game is mainly about confidence, especially on offense. Understanding each other’s game-style comes with experience amongst one another. It’s obvious everything factors into excellent overall shooting including major work ethic to an extent where the head coach must lock the gym for a day encouraging players to rest as I’ve mentioned in a tweet below.

The modern NBA revolves around pick & roll, spacing, and shooting. The Knicks have very solid pick & roll defenders and perimeter defenders. Add good shot selection and overall improved shooting, and your now looking at a dangerous playoff team sitting in the 4th seed in a very competitive Eastern Conference. The Knicks have an identity. Hard nosed basketball including excellent shot selection and solid overall defense for a full 48 minutes.

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