The Knicks have had a tendency of getting away from rookie Kristaps Porzingis in fourth quarters, even what he’s hot heading into the game’s final period. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that Knicks fans aren’t the only ones upset with the team’s tendency to steer clear of its star rookie late.
According to the source, Fisher’s assistant coaches, including Brian Keefe, Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons, are more versed in the strategic concepts. The source said Carmelo Anthony has come to Fisher recently to lobby for rookie Kristaps Porzingis to be more involved in the offense late in games to take the burden off him. Indeed, Porzingis had plays run for him down the stretch in Boston on Sunday.
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Charley Rosen, a close friend and former assistant coach of Phil Jackson’s who often comes up in triangle-related, Jackson-associated conversations, offered his take that the problem could be Xs and Os related:
“If you run the triangle, you have to make a total commitment to the triangle,’’ said Rosen, who writes a technical basketball column for todaysfastbreak.com. “It’s not like a part-time thing that you just use some of it. If that’s your offense, you got to commit to it. It doesn’t look like they’re really committed to it.
“They’re running it in a half-assed way. It’s not creating the kind of shots it would normally create.’’
In a recent game against the Cavaliers, the Knicks’ second defeat in this recent four-game losing streak, Porzingis had 23 points through three quarters. He didn’t get a shot in the fourth quarter. So, those criticisms are valid. The ones of Fisher, though, while seemingly well-founded in tone appear off in accuracy.
The Knicks have struggled to find proper spacing in the triangle all season. You’ll often see multiple players run to the same spot or someone go for a cut to the wrong place. You’ll watch a guy stand still when he should be slicing backdoor. That said, summarizing the Knicks’ offensive struggles by saying the team isn’t running enough of a mostly outdated offense which most of the rest of the league has given up on (and that New York rightfully doesn’t run on every possession), seems like shallow analysis.
The biggest flaws of the Knicks’ attack are that it screens as little as any in the league, doesn’t run much pick-and-roll at all and deemphasizes the long ball enough to rank in the bottom half of the league in three-point rate. Also, keep in mind that even when the triangle was working, it didn’t actually work. Go watch the fourth quarters of any of those Lakers playoff games with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. You’ll find tons of pick-and-roll without much triangle at all. Jackson abandoned many of those sets late in games, and that was 13 years and a countless evolutions of the game ago.