The New York Knicks is ranked 23rd on the year in points per possession. From March 31st to April 25th, the Knicks ranked 7th largely in part due to Julius Randle’s phenomenal play offensively. The former Kentucky Wildcat has been serenaded with MVP chants from the fans inside Madison Square Garden. Julius Randle is clearly enjoying the process and the grind.
During the two week span dating back to March 31st leading up to April 25th, Knicks ranked 7th in offensive efficiency. The Knicks offensive rating for the current year is 110.6 which is good for 20th place overall. Knicks are 4th in defensive rating while holding opponents to 104.7 points per game, good for first in the entire league. The significance of offensive efficiency has been incredibly visible lately.
The Knicks are 7-1 in the last two weeks, as their defense has stayed strong and their offense caught fire.— Cleaning The Glass (@cleantheglass) April 21, 2021
On the year they rank 23rd in points per possession, but in the last two weeks they rank 7th. pic.twitter.com/OlxEgB2lcQ
Victories for the Knicks these days are coming at a very rapid pace due to players getting more acclimated to each other on both ends of the basketball court. Many envisioned the Knicks not even making the playoffs this season, however, the 2020-21 NBA Head Coach of the Year candidate, Tom Thibodeau clearly had other plans. Defensively the Knicks have been stifling opponents with elite shot blocking to go along with defensive pick & roll disruption. The personnel on the Knicks roster makes everyones job easy. Leon Rose has put a solid squad together for Tom Thibodeau and assembled the roster in a way that makes it easy for everyone to play to their strengths on both ends. Every player’s style is compatible with one another whether they’re in the rotation or not.
Knicks Offense Catching up With it’s Defense is a Welcoming Sight.
Knicks defensive identity has been no secret. Once Tom Thibodeau became head coach, personnel was already in place. Core team principles were put in place by the head coach early in the season during training camp. Offensively, opposing teams like the Miami Heat zone defended the Knicks to death when Elfrid Payton was on the floor. Teams are still trying to take the Knicks out of their flow by using zone defense, however, it’s less effective due to improved shot making ability from RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. Even Elfrid Payton has shown a little improvement on his three point shooting. When the Knicks are knocking down jump-shots, the entire game becomes much easier for the men sporting the orange and blue. Efficient offense is helping the Knicks defensively. This positive cycle of good basketball is helping New York in the win column.
The Knicks actually try and give opponents head starts by starting Elfrid Payton every game— Eric Hubbs (@BarstoolHubbs) April 24, 2021
Elfrid Payton in a nutshell his entire tenure here in NY.— TheBenchWarmer🏀 (@BenchWarmerPost) April 21, 2021
For christ sake man, just kick it out to RJ pic.twitter.com/Uoz6gQOoZ7
Offensive efficiency is needed for the playoffs as well. Opposing coaches watch tons of film during a playoff series, this leads to lots of adjustments. Knicks offensively still have room to grow. With teams eager to zone in on Elfrid’s ineffectiveness from long range, it will be up to the Knicks coaching staff to make their own adjustments in order to benefit the Knicks offensively when a non-shooting point guard like Payton is on the court.
Tom Thibodeau speaks on confidence in Elfrid Payton:— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) April 25, 2021
"There's a lot of things he does for the team that probably goes unnoticed" pic.twitter.com/gAKmMjwIHS
Elfrid Payton dishing 👀pic.twitter.com/M053VMcBR6— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 22, 2021
Tom Thibodeau has tons of confidence in Elfrid Payton. According to the Knicks head coach, there are plenty of things Payton is able to do on the basketball court that doesn’t really get noticed, especially defensively. Could Payton also contribute to the Knicks recent surge in offensive efficiency? The coach seems to believe so, and the coach continues to start Elfrid. However, Payton contributes positively on defense consistently.
Carolyn Kyles, Julius Randle's mom, spoke to @courtside_moms about her son's upbringing, his offseason & more: “He put the work in for those 7 months to bring himself to a different level, to be able to give New York what he wanted to give them last year.” https://t.co/pMFQLnoaMS— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 28, 2021
Overall, the New York Knicks are playing their best basketball in nearly approximately a decade and fans are more than pleased. Julius Randle’s play has been phenomenal and many are noticing how the late great Kobe Bryant influenced the power forward. The work Julius Randle has put in both on his craft as well as his physical conditioning is nothing short of amazing. When Tom Thibodeau is impressed on the physical conditioning of a player, it’s a big deal.