The New York Knicks are heading into the 2021-22 season with added firepower on offense and development with some of their younger players. Letting Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina, and Reggie Bullock walk this off-season left a few holes behind, but they replaced them eagerly with even better talent.
Signing Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker, and drafting Miles McBride, the Knicks filled those three spots with productive players who will offer a much more moving forward. Fournier is capable of creating shots for himself and others, which will open up the floor for players like Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, giving them more opportunities from beyond the arc. Walker is an elusive small guard who prides himself in scoring efficiency and explosive play-making. Payton was the exact opposite of that, offering better defense over offensive production, which came back to bite the Knicks in the butt later on in the season.
However, one category the Knicks are looking to improve upon is their three-point shooting. When looking at their three-point percentage last season, the Knicks ranked third in the NBA at 39.2%, tied with the Brooklyn Nets for second place. However, they ranked in the bottom portion of the league in three-point attempts per game, a statistic that Rose spoke about specifically on Tuesday.
â€œI think our staple (last season) was defense. Now that I feel like we got better on the offensive side of the ball, itâ€™s about adding little things,â€ Rose said. â€œLast year, we only shot 30 threes. This year, now we have three-point shooters. We gotta get up to 37 to 40 attempts.”
The Knicks averaged 29.9 attempts per game, which was far less than the 36.1 attempts the Nets took. If they can increase that number and open up shots for themselves but maintain the same hit rate, the offense should see a significant boost in production.
â€œIâ€™m not saying we gotta force threes, but take the right threes and donâ€™t pass up any good looks. Push the ball. I felt like last year, we didnâ€™t push the ball. We needed to (push the pace) to get easy buckets and easy looks forÂ JuliusÂ (Randle)Â to get him downhill or to getÂ RJÂ (Barrett)Â going downhill to open up the floor for everybody.â€
Rose has the right idea, spreading the floor and creating open shots for their best playmakers. Forcing three-point attempts is not ideal, but a healthy Mitchell Robinson will provide them with more offensive rebounds and talent down low. RJ Barrett shot above 43% from three-point range in the corner, so expect him to continue featuring in that way moving forward.
This is a clear-cut way for the Knicks to improve their offense and take it up a notch, but it starts with Julius Randle commanding attention in the paint and spreading the floor.