The Knicks, Who To Blame


Last year the Knicks were the toast of New York. They finished in fourth place and all their fans believed the future was bright. This year has been dismal and Tom Thibodeau has taken the brunt of the blame. William Wesley, AKA World Wide Wes, has been complaining about Thibs to the Knick owner, James Dolan according to rumors. Let’s examine the numbers and changes the Knicks made in the last year to see if the argument against Thibs is justified.

Thibs has always been a defensive first coach. The Knicks allowed the fourth best points per one hundred possessions last year. This year the team has dropped to thirteenth. Last year the team was second in effective defensive Field Goal percentage. This year the team is thirteenth. When you just look at the numbers you may think the team isn’t playing hard for their coach. We often look at defense as the way to determine if a team is playing hard. Without looking at the personnel it seems it’s Thibs fault.

The New Players

When you begin to look at the changes in personnel you can better understand the defensive fall off. This year’s new players do not appear to be the type that Thibs would want to help them defensively. This year the Knicks signed Evan Fournier as a free agent. Fournier is considered a shoot first player and is not known as a defensive player. Last year in Fournier’s spot was Reggie Bullock. Bullock is a much better wing defender and a pretty good three point shooter especially from the corner. Bullock also signed for eight million less than Fournier this year.

The Knicks also brought in Kemba Walker this year. Kemba when healthy is an offensive force. He has not been healthy this year. Kemba on his best days is not a good defensive player. Last year the Knicks used the much maligned Elfrid Payton at the point. Payton is regarded as a good defensive player but not much offensively.

The Returning Players

The injury bug has hit the Knicks hard. This year Derrick Rose has only played in twenty-six games. Rose was a key to the Knick revival last year and was counted on offensively this year

Nerlens Noel has played in only twenty-five games thus far this year. Last year he was a key back line defender. His absence has hurt the Knicks although Mitchell Robinson has improved this year and taken up some of the slack.

This year Julius Randle has taken his share of the blame for the Knicks poor season. No one will deny his on court behavior has been poor and he has had a rough year. If you look at the numbers you see that though his offensive stats are down R. J. Barrett’s offensive numbers have risen.

The Front Office

When you look at the defensive numbers and personnel changes you can begin to see the problems the Knicks have. It appears management doesn’t understand Thibs strengths. As I said earlier, Thibs was defensively oriented throughout his coaching career. This year management has decided to bring in offensive players. It looks like management and their coach aren’t on the same page. It also looks like World Wide Wes if he went to Dolan was doing what people always do when things go wrong, covering themselves.

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Knicks who to blame Knicks who to blame

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