Time to invest in $NYK.
The New York Knicks tipped-off the unofficial start of the season last week with a few preseason games.
Fans became delirious watching the team and rightfully so.
New offensive scheme
Last season, the Knicks shot 30 three pointers a game, the fourth least in the league. They shot 37 threes against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, but made just 11, shooting a tough 30%.
But on Saturday night against the Washington Wizards, they shot 52 threes and made 24, a 46% clip.
The Knicks record for threes made is 20, achieved thrice. They had never attempted 50 threes in a game before.
Unfortunately, the 24-for-52 night in D.C. will not count as new franchise records but this team will break that at some point this season. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau wants his team to shoot threes. He reportedly is aiming for at least 40 three pointers a game.
Get ready to watch the ball fly at The World’s Most Famous Arena.
Is this what a point guard looks like?
The Knicks have not had talent at the point guard position in over a decade and now they finally do. Bronx native Kemba Walker had an impressive Knicks debut against the Pacers on Tuesday. He shot 50% from the field and 40% from three and four assists. But the part of Walker’s game that made Knicks fans drool was his ability to hit the three, especially a transition pull-up.
Walker had a more quiet night on Saturday in the nation’s capital. Walker shot 29% from the field as he was only able to tally six points in the win.
Knicks fans, the days of Elfrid Payton being an undefended non-factor in the corner are over. If Walker is left open, he will make defenses pay.
Walker made several reads and made extra passes in the wins over the Pacers and Wizards. Knicks fans will be praying to Dick McGuire, Dave DeBusschere and the basketball gods for Walker’s health. If Walker is able to stay healthy this season, not only could the Knicks win 45-50 games, the Knicks could become a serious threat in the east.
Yeah, that’s right.
Ain’t no stoppin’ Obi Toppin
Continuing the trend of New Yorkers on this Knicks team, Obi Toppin has been fun to watch. The former Dayton Flyer played just 14 minutes in the opener against the Pacers but did draw some oohs-and-ahhs with this play. He scored 10 points in those 14 minutes, highlighted by a fine play in which he put the ball on the floor on the right side, crossed over to his left hand, drove the lane and spun back to fool his defender and put the ball back on his dominant right hand for an easy layup.
Last season, Toppin looked uncomfortable when bringing the ball upcourt. If he grabbed a board, he would start his dribble and jog his way up the court in an indecisive manner with his head up looking for a guard. It doesn’t seem like that is the case anymore. He has looked smooth and decisive and aggressive after rebounds. He turns the jets on and goes up court with confidence. In one instance, after a missed Pacer free throw, he grabbed the board and went coast-to-coast with fluidity and confidence. He finished with a contested layup for a deuce.
Continuing the trend of confidence, Toppin didn’t make a three in game one but made two in D.C. Last season, Toppin lost confidence in his jumper. It seems as though he heard all the complaints and criticism about his inability from behind the arc. In two games, he has looked confident and the jumper looks pretty. He continues to struggle from the corner, but he is finding success on threes from further out.
With Randle out against the Wizards, Toppin got nearly 30 minutes of playing time on Saturday. Toppin looked good in his opportunity. He also made fine efforts on defense.
Must be that #GirlDad confidence.
Immanuel Quickley: Point Guard?
There were questions last season about what guard position Immanuel Quickley would thrive in and what his ceiling is. Many labeled him an off-the-bench two guard. A couple of games Into his second season, Quickley has answered: I can run the point, too.
In the first two games, Quickley has shown the ability to maybe become a starting point guard in this league one day. Everyone knows of Quickley’s aptness to hit threes from way downtown and his patented floater, but it seems as if he has been working on a mid-range game to complete his scoring ability.
But what has caught many eyes is him working as a playmaker. He has been able to drive and kick out to the open teammate and draw double teams on pick-and-rolls and make the right pass. His improvement in reading defenses is starting to become noticable.
Say Quickley stays with the Knicks and Walker eventually doesn’t pan out as expected, it wouldn’t be surprising if Quickley is able to succeed as the starting point guard.
The rest of the fellas
RJ Barrett is still a good player. His corner threes seem automatic now. His on-ball defense is great. He locked down Bradley Beal when they dueled the Wizards. He is getting strong, too. Beal tried to back Barrett down and the Canadian did not move. He is shooting 46% from the field and 50% from three in two games.
Julius Randle played just one game as personal reasons kept him out of the game against Washington. Against Indiana, he shot 50% from the field and 40% from deep. He finished one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Evan Fournier is not shooting as expected but he does spread the floor and is constantly moving on offense waiting for the defensive lapse to get a look and when he doesn’t have a look he likes, he’ll pass it off. Plus, he saw Toppin cutting against the Wizards and lobbed a dime for an alley-oop. Reggie Bullock isn’t doing that.
Jericho Sims looks fun. He can jump with the best of them and it seems like Derrick Rose has taken a liking to Sims due to their similar “introverted” ways. Sims has had some awful lapses on defense but it’s not something to rip one’s hair out. He’s still trying to learn at this level and will benefit from consistent minutes with the Westchester Knicks (who playin Bridgeport, CT this season).
Derrick Rose looks good again this season. Rose didn’t start too hot as he went 2-10 from the field and did not record a made three. He finished with eight points against the Pacers but in Washington, D.C., he scored 15 points in 19 minutes, making three threes off the bench. Rose also dished out eight dimes. He did pick up a knock towards the end of the game against the Wizards, but will be fine.
Kevin Knox has looked good offensively early on. He looks confident and is making cuts and being aggressive on offense. But his inability to defend is going to cost him playing time in a contract year.
Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes haven’t been able to get much time on the court so far this preseason. Grimes has two points while McBride is still searching for his first point. It’s going to be tough for them to find playing time this season. Surely, the G-League is in their future so they can develop.
LAST WEEK RESULTS:
10/05: Knicks 125, Pacers 104
10/09: Knicks 117, Wizards 99
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE:
10/13 – vs Pistons (MSG) 7:30pm
10/15 – vs Wizards (MSG) 7:30pm
10/08 – Signed G Tyler Hall
F Julius Randle (personal) – Says he will play on Wednesday, wife gave birth on Friday.
G Derrick Rose (ankle) – Participated in full practice, uncertain for Wednesday.
C Nerlens Noel (knee) – DNP in first two games, participated in full practice on Monday, uncertain for Wednesday
C Mitchell Robinson (foot) – Participated in some but not all contact drills, no timetable for return