The New York Knicks started off the 2021â€“22 season with efficient scoring and good enough defense. However, fast forward to December and they are currently facing a cold streak as a result of awful defense and poor shooting.
The team is currently on a three-game losing streak, dropping games to Brooklyn, Chicago, and their latest against Denver on Saturday afternoon. Denver completely annihilated the Knicks, finding open shooters and taking advantage of every mishap.
The Nuggets finished with a 46.5% success rate from three-point range and 52.4% from the field in total. They held New York to just 30% from deep and 39.8% from the field. Denver entered the game as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in basketball and one of the worst defensive units. New York made them look like championship contenders, exposing a significant issue within the team — chemistry.
Star forward Julius Randle stated after the loss that the team was in a “funk,” but it seems to be far more foundational than just a cold streak. The team has no chemistry on defense, failing to communicate properly, and offensively their ball movement is lackluster. It seems to be a poor match of players and mentality.
Two ways the Knicks can solve their massive chemistry issues:
1.) Trade for another star at the deadline
The Knicks have a few ways they can correct their major chemistry issues, and the first is to bring in another star player to take the burden off Randle’s shoulders. Julius has done his best to carry the team at times but has made terrible decisions down the stretch, including a technical foul against Brooklyn in the final moments and costly turnover again Chicago which put the game to bed.
If Tom Thibodeau and the front office are willing to give up assets to acquire a big name, it will help Randle tremendously finish off games. Ultimately, what they need is a closer, as Randle simply canâ€™t handle the pressure.
In addition, if the defense is going to be lackluster, the Knicks are going to have to outscore teams by a significant margin. That is what the Brooklyn Nets prescribe to, so adding another offensive playmaker with elite scoring production would mask some of their deficiencies.
2.) Come together and hold each other accountable
The second path to success is simply holding each other accountable and developing chemistry. The Knicks are currently regressing in every way, ranging from three-point shooting to defensive communication. It is clear they arenâ€™t on the same wavelength, with too many bodies in the paint and not enough players guarding the perimeter. Offensively, the ball movement is stagnant and their transition game is nonexistent.
Dropping Kemba Walker from the rotation was a good decision, but Evan Fournier and his nonexistent defense have been a big problem. The Knicks lack a true 3-and-D player, which is why letting Reggie Bullock walk for the French sharpshooter was a big risk.