The New York Knicks have reverted back to their winning ways after a slow start to their 2023-24 NBA season, and two of their five-man lineups in particular have shown out against the competition.
As SNY’s David Verstberger pointed out, the Knicks starting lineup has done its job, but their bench unit including Immanuel Quickley and Isaiah Hartenstein is doing something especially vital when spelling for the starters:
“The five of Quickley-DiVincenzo-Josh Hart-Barrett-Isaiah Hartenstein is their third-most-played lineup and lampoons opposing lineups to the tune of 11.5 per 100 possessions,” Verstberger said. “Quickley gets adequate offensive options and spacing, Hartenstein can conduct for the team’s most active movers and Barrett gets to control more of the offense.”
Knicks Bench Running Opposing Second Units Off the Floor With Versatile Offense
No pun intended, the Knicks play quickly with Quickley out on the floor. Hart pushes the ball with verve in the open court and Hartenstein is a workhorse in diving to the basket off of screens and playing with pace. DiVincenzo has brought championship-level shooting and floor spacing to the Knicks and RJ Barrett has been as aggressive and efficient as ever in scoring the basketball.
The Knicks have struggled in those aforementioned areas over the last two seasons. The most crucial way that the reserve unit has helped the Knicks has been by bringing balance and variation to the offense and finding quick and creative ways to score.
Thanks to that, the Knicks are a plus 1.1 when they are on the floor for the 8.3 minutes they average together per game. They also produce the highest field goal percentage among all Knicks lineups that have played in at least half of their games at 48 percent.
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Knicks Starters Mirroring Last Year’s Success in Recent Games
The Knicks’ recent success can be attributed to their starting lineup’s elevated three-point shooting. The starters now shoot 41.2 percent from outside and are a plus-4 in eight appearances together on the year.
With Julius Randle having turned a corner and Jalen Brunson putting together a recent five-game stretch that earned him the Eastern Conference Player of the Week award, the Knicks are touching all their bases on both sides of the glass, in the driving lanes, from beyond the arc, and in slowing down opposing offenses with a 109.1 defensive rating, good for No. 5 in the league.
They can borrow from their backups by playing with more speed. They rank dead last in pace (96.89) and need to pick it up if they want to continue building upon their strengths and mold themselves into legitimate championship contenders.