Scouting Report: New York Knicks
The Knicks are off to a slow start this season, and that could be good or bad news for the Hawks. The way I see it, Atlanta is either catching New York at a good time, or New York is going to be ticked off about losing four times in their first six games and take all of their frustrations out on Atlanta.
Former Hawks coach Mike Woodson has a team ideally built for the regular season because of their tough defense and their willingness to shoot an obnoxious amount of threes, but not necessarily a team built for the playoffs because of the isolation offense. This season it appears the offense (or lack thereof as some might say), has caught up with them early. The Knicks are shooting just 43 percent overall and only 32 percent from three and have a 2-4 record despite playing four of their first six games at home.
The anchor of the offense is Carmelo Anthony, though by Carmelo standards he’s having a “down” year so far. He’s by far New York’s leading scorer, but he hasn’t blown up. ’Melo loves to back down smaller players and shoot over them, but DeMarre Carroll should make that difficult. If Carroll can contest Anthony’s jump shot and keep from fouling him, the Hawks should be in good shape.
Offseason acquisition Andrea Bargnani is second on the team in scoring despite playing just 24 minutes per game. The big man will have to step up over the next few weeks in place of the injured Tyson Chandler, as New York’s defense becomes vulnerable on the interior.
Guys like Raymond Felton and Metta World Peace are probably better known for their defense, though both can score if you give them driving lanes. The Knicks’ 25th ranked scoring offense is one that I think will improve over the course of the season. Coach Bud has emphasized an improvement in Atlanta’s defense over the past few games, and Wednesday will be a great test to see how far they’ve come when they go up against one of the best scorers in the league.
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