The New York Knicks are in the midst of a three game losing streak. Tom Thibodeau’s squad have lost three of their last five contests. The men sporting the orange and blue were held to under one hundred points each of the last three contests. As the Knicks continue to struggle with turnovers, over-passing, and poor shooting, one glaring fact is the Knicks were only averaging 88.6-points during its three game losing streak. The Knicks struggles continue as a whole as their shooting percentage from the field plummet.
The Knicks have scored 89, 89, and 88 points in their last three games (they lost 109-88 in Charlotte last night). They're the only team since the start of the 2018-19 season to score fewer than 90 points in 3 straight games. Right now, they own the 2nd-worst offense in the NBA.— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) January 12, 2021
Healthy personnel depth could benefit the team’s extremely aggressive defensive style of play Coach Tom Thibodeau prefers. Could lack of healthy roster depth be part of the reason for recent struggles? How can a defense maintain its intensity if players are fatigued from an overload of minutes? The New York Knicks are also one of the worst in the league when it comes to offensive pace. Aggressive, hard cutting offense can be consistent only if the team depth is not only solid but healthy. Pressure must be taken off the starting lineup and a healthy roster for the most part, from top to bottom is crucial for a team with an aggressive 48 minute approach. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic displays the woeful shooting numbers during the three game losing streak.
Knicks and a few key players in a major slump over this 3-game losing streak. Averaging 88.7 ppg.— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) January 12, 2021
Knicks shooting 38.9% over last 3 gms and 28.2% on 3s.
RJ Barrett: 20-for-66 over last 4 gms. He's made 2-of-his last 21 3s.
Immanuel Quickley: 2-for-24 last 4 gms and 1-of-12 from 3
Tom Thibodeau Continues The Heavy Starter Minutes As Fatigue Becomes A Factor.Tom Thibodeau is known for playing his chosen starters plenty of minutes, however, fatigue causes mental lapses on both ends of the court. The Knick offense has been affected negatively due to plenty of turnovers, which led to easy opportunities for opponents. Teams are also taking advantage of the Knicks current lack of shooting personnel by playing zone defense. Missed three pointers turned into more fast break opportunities for opponents and the Knicks were finding themselves in an early deficit. With teams harping on Knicks current shooting struggles, and the Knicks facing a challenging schedule, Knick fans should be relieved to be looking at a 5-6 overall record. The free agent steal, Austin Rivers shared those same thoughts recently.
"We’re going through a little stretch right now," Austin Rivers says of the struggling Knicks, who have lost 3 straight games.— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) January 12, 2021
"We’re 5-6, we’ve had one of the hardest schedules in the NBA, we’ve played most of the best teams in the NB, everybody needs to take a deep breath."
Austin Rivers is urging calm for Knicks:— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) January 12, 2021
"You gotta ask yourself as a Knicks fan, or if you're covering us, would you take a 5-6 start considering we had one of the toughest schedules in the league?…Everybody just take a deep breath. We got a lot of games left. We'll be OK."
Complimentary Pieces Have Been Unavailable Due To Injury.
It’s already bad that the Knicks don’t compliment each other that well on the offensive end in terms of individual style of play, added injuries doesn’t help. In fact more injuries exasperates the glaring issue already at hand. Recently injured 3&D player Reggie Bullock, Alec Burks, Frank Ntilikina, and high flying rookie Obi Toppin all possess the well needed ability to stretch the floor. Those players just mentioned, make the game easier for other shooters that are healthy, resulting in more spacing, less misses, and an organized defense. A set defense eliminates the chaotic scrambling to stop an opponents fast break opportunity. This leads to a well managed and balanced game which gives the Knicks a chance to win.
On January 11th after a blowout loss to a Gordon Hayward led Charlotte Hornets team, Coach Thibodeau raved about the young Knicks desire to work on their craft in the gym. This is crucial for long term development.
Rumors are circulating around Los Angeles Laker 20-year old guard Talen Horton-Tucker. The former Iowa State Cyclone has a solid frame with room for growth. He’s extremely versatile on both ends of the floor. Horton is a decent playmaker, however, he isn’t great at one skill. The Chicago native is currently a prototypical all-around player during the early stages of his NBA career. One of the teams interested in the player who was part of last seasons Laker championship run is the Knicks. After a breakout preseason, many teams are interested in signing Talen Horton-Tucker away from the Lakers, including the Knicks. Horton-Tucker would be an excellent addition for Thibodeau as he is 6’4″ tall while possessing a 7’1″ wingspan. He’s basically tailor made for an aggressive defensive unit like the one being instilled in New York.
Overall, the New York Knicks are working towards becoming a competent team while looking to make the playoffs. Injuries and basic team struggles are making their play volatile on a nightly basis. More practice time and film sessions will hep this young Knicks roster in the long term as far as this pandemic stricken 2021 season goes. On January 13th at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks will face a Brooklyn Nets team that’s dealing with their own situation involving no other than Kyrie Irving. The men repping New York City will look to get on track against Durant and the Nets under the bright lights of an empty MSG.