Outspoken ESPN analyst and former Boston Celtics champion Kendrick Perkins sounded off on the New York Knicks’ lack of ball movement during the halftime report of their in-season tournament matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Does Knicks Star Julius Randle Need to Move Around More on Offense?
Perkins scolded the Knicks, who were down 56–46 at the break, and honed in on one particular culprit in Julius Randle who he viewed as slowing the offense down by not looking for easier opportunities off the ball:
It’s no secret that Randle has struggled for the early portion of the season. Not only is Randle yet to shoot better than 40 percent from the field in any game thus far, but he also ran up his shot attempts with a season-high 22 looks against the Bucks, converting on only five.
Outside of the paint, Randle typically requires space and several dribbles to get to his spots and generate offense for himself and others. He’s not taking heavily contested shots, but he’s rushed many of his looks, particularly from outside, and has not generated offense off of cuts or dribble handoffs to mix things up.
His inefficiency is part of a wider problem that the Knicks face as a team.
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The Knicks Need to Add Versatility to Offensive Scheme
New York has consistently been looked at for their lack of variation in half-court offensive sets as well as playing with more of a sense of urgency down the floor off of missed shots.
They were able to win the fast-break battle against the Bucks by an eight-point margin, but it did not stop them from shooting under 40 percent as a team and not making good on several of the issues they’ve yet to overcome.
Jalen Brunson exploded for a 45-point night against the Bucks — one which he needed after struggling to find his rhythm. However, on the year, he trails only Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder) for the most shot attempts having taken seven or more dribbles (9.3 FGA). Further, he is one of only four players within the top 50 of that category to be converting on under 30 percent of those looks.
As a team, the Knicks’ ball movement issues are reflected in the shot clock. They attempt the most shots with seven seconds or less on the shot clock among all teams in the NBA. That spells a recipe for disaster if continued at the rate they are going.
A bright spot for the Knicks is their activity on the offensive glass in creating second-chance points, especially considering they’ve yet to feature a lineup with two of their three centers on the floor at the same time. Albeit, they’ll need to diversify their pick-and-roll and get more motion on the court to get the edge over opposing defenses.