New York Knicks Rotation Problems

New York Knicks Defensive Rotation Problems

What Happened to the Knicks Defense?

How desperate are the Knicks to fix their defensive problems? They put Kurt Rambis in charge. Head coach Jeff Hornacek had the Knicks spreading defensive responsibility to all the coaches. The Knicks let the Utah Jazz score 65 second-half points in a home loss. In the past six games, the Knicks rank 30th in defensive efficiency and have allowed 109.8 points per game.

“I just felt that we’re probably better off with just one voice, so Kurt, we are going to have him be the voice on the defense,” Hornacek said.

During the Knicks preseason, we saw plenty of good enough defensive rotations. There was a newfound commitment and desire to perform well on the defensive side of the ball. What exactly happened to all of that? The players know that defense is the problem.

“It was defense the entire game,” point guard Derrick Rose said. “We have to figure out what we want to do with the one-three and one-four pick-and-rolls. It was multiple times with two guys, with the one guy or just miscommunication, and they made us pay for it.

“We have to get better in every aspect of our defense,’’ center Joakim Noah added. “Nothing was good.’’

Time to Check the Film

The Knicks defense shows up sometimes. Sometimes, the Knicks play good individual or team defense. Unfortunately, it is too sporadic for them to win games.

Individual players have proven that they are upgrades to the positions from last season. It has helped the Knicks successfully survive on individual talent. However, that’s only happened for a few plays. They do not have enough defensive players to sustain good defense.

Other times, the defense works well together. The players make the right defensive rotations. But once again, the Knicks do not sustain the effort. The few plays in which the Knicks put together sound defense make it harder to watch the failures. When the defense fails, it fails very badly:

The breakdown of the pick-and-roll defense and the success of the previous plays both point to defensive rotations as the problem. The rotations, when correct, allow the defense to have an identity. The defense rotations allow individual players to shine. The Knicks’ switches make the defense better. Is rotation a key point that Rambis will focus on? He has decided to adopt a no-switching policy. Since then, the Knicks have lost two straight games. Clearly, that may not have been the best idea.

 

Main photo:

23 December 2015: Cleveland Cavaliers Forward LeBron James (23) shoots a three point shot while being contested by New York Knicks Forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the game between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Oh. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)