The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Assessing Knicks' the 2021-22 Season




December 15th, 2010...the genesis of my Knicks fandom. Yes, I first learned about the Knicks through NBA Live 08; they were the lowest overall team... 8-year-old me needed some easy competition. Yes, Nate Robinson might've lured me away from my hometown New Jersey Nets (yuck...can you imagine liking the Nets!) by winning the Slam Dunk Contest in his Kryptonite jersey. Yes...I listened to my father's poor advice and assumed Lebron James would come to NY and save the Knicks...only to be hoodwinked.


In my mind though, the December 15th game against the Celtics' 3-headed monster of Pierce, Allen, & Garnett will always be the beginning of diehard allegiance to the Knicks.


If I close my eyes, my core Knicks memory is unlocked. I can still feel my 10-year-old self glued to the TV in my parent's room. I feel the tears rolling down my face as Paul Pierce hits the game-winning shot. I remember the feeling of an imaginary knife in my heart as Nate Robinson, the man who lured me to orange and blue, leaped onto Pierce. [Love him, but why in hell was Nate Robinson on the floor in crunch time for a championship contender? Oh, right...Doc Rivers was the coach...that explains it.]


I still remember the pain I felt when STAT's game-winning 3-pointer with 0.4 on the clock was called off. It's the first time I got a true taste of Knicks fandom: the knife was removed from my heart, just to be impaled again, this time by my own team.


It was the first time I cried because of the Knicks, but certainly not the last. I cried when the Knicks barely lost Game 1 to the Celtics that same year. I cried when they lost game 2. And when they got swept. I cried when we lost to the Heat in 2011, and Amar'e punched the fire extinguisher. I cried when we lost Jeremey Lin. I cried when Steve Novak got traded. I cried every time Andrea Bargnani touched the ball (not really, but I should have). I cried when Lebron James capped off a 20+ point second-half at MSG with a dagger 3 over KP (The Frank vs. Lebron Game). Countless other times I cannot recount.


Allegiance to the Knicks has brought an incredible amount of pain. But still..I fell in love with this team. This team has made me fall in love with basketball. My love for this game has brought me on an incredible journey in my young life.


I played under an NJ Hall-of-Fame High School coach. I've been afforded the chance to learn about some ins and outs of NBA management and the Collective Bargaining Agreement under former GM and 2010 NBA Executive of the Year, Mark Warkentien. I've learned under Carl Berman, director of NetScouts, about scouting & video analysis at the collegiate and professional level. I currently manage for men's basketball team at my college, Elon University. The amount I learn a great deal the game working on a daily basis under the tutelage of such a great staff.


Maybe you share the Knicks as a passion. Maybe you love the game of basketball too. Whatever the case, let's take a dive in analyzing the Knicks' season so far.

 

The Good


3-point Shooting:


34 games into this season, the Knicks' performance from behind the 3-point arc has been positive. Most of Knicks Nation envisioned this, as the offseason infusion of additional shooting to last year's squad. Yet, in a season where it seems that what can go wrong will go wrong, at least fans can savor this accurate forecast. As the trend of the league is heading towards more and more 3-point shooting, it's settling to know that the Knicks are excelling in this area.

The Knicks are shooting 36.4% from the three overall, ranking 7th among all NBA teams. Compared to last year's team, the present squad is top 10 in attempts per game. There hasn't been a drop-off with the increased volume of attempts; roughly 39% of the team's points are coming from 3-pointers.


More importantly, the Knicks are generating clean looks from beyond the arc and knocking them down; they rank 8th best in open 3-pointers (defined as 4-6 ft. of space to closest defender) made per game (5.2) while rating 11th in the NBA in their generation of these shot attempts. On wide-open 3 pointers (6+ ft. of space) the Knicks, while around league average in producing these attempts, they are getting knocked down at an exceptional rate of nearly 40%.