Knicks see ‘real fun season’ ahead with offensive changes clicking

6 months ago 107

Judging by their archetypal 2 games, the Knicks person a bountiful aboriginal successful store for them.

Head manager Tom Thibodeau implored his troops to summation their measurement successful 2 areas — 3-point attempts and gait — and the Knicks person displayed much of some truthful far.

Gun and run.

As the Knicks prepared to big the Magic connected Sunday to implicit a home-and-home set, they are two-for-two and 2-0.

The Knicks pb the NBA with 41 made 3-pointers, 9 much than immoderate different club. They person launched 99 shots from 3-point scope — besides No. 1 successful the league — and person taken 28 much than the next-highest clubs (Rockets, Nets) entering Saturday.

They made 24 3-pointers during Friday’s roadworthy blowout of the Magic to acceptable a franchise record. No Knick deed much than 4 treys, however, arsenic they dispersed the 3-point wealth.

Guard Immanuel Quickley said aft the 121-96 triumph Friday helium expects the Knicks to acceptable different record. Heck, possibly adjacent Sunday.

“I deliberation we’re successful for a existent amusive season,’’ Quickley added.

KnicksThe Knicks deed a team-record 24 3-pointer against the Magic connected Friday.NBAE via Getty Images

The long-range bounty was foreshadowed 2 weeks agone during a preseason crippled astatine Washington, erstwhile the Knicks besides made 24 3-pointers, though that didn’t number arsenic an authoritative record. Now that the regular play has begun, they’re inactive gunning.

“It’s a reflection of them playing for each different and conscionable making the close play,’’ Thibodeau said of creating much bully 3-point chances.

While the Knicks were 24th successful the league successful 3-point frequence (percentage of shots beyond the arc) past season, they were dormant past successful gait and fast-break points.

Friday, the Knicks scored 24 fast-break points. Credit a batch of it to ace sophomore Obi Toppin, the powerfulness guardant who is mounting an illustration by moving retired arsenic soon arsenic a rebound is caught.

Toppin has turned into a fast-break freight train arsenic helium looks to reverse a disappointing rookie year. Thibodeau said Toppin is capable to consistently contention downcourt astatine afloat sprint due to the fact that he’s “in large shape.’’ Toppin is averaging 13.5 points adjacent though his 3-point changeable inactive isn’t perfectly consistent.

Amid chants of “O-Bi,’’ Toppin topped disconnected 1 accelerated interruption Friday by going betwixt his legs arsenic helium skied for the slam dunk.

Quickley is Toppin’s champion person connected the squad and they hung retired exclusively during their rookie pandemic season. Quickley was the pome of Thibodeau’s oculus past season, portion Toppin didn’t person the antiaircraft smarts to gain the coach’s spot and averaged conscionable 11 minutes arsenic Julius Randle’s backup.

“When Obi is playing good, I virtually consciousness similar I’m playing great,’’ Quickley said. “When helium went betwixt the legs, I thought I went betwixt the legs. That’s my dog. Whenever he’s playing good, I’m feeling good.’’

Everyone’s feeling bully present arsenic the Knicks are disconnected to their champion commencement since 2012-13 — erstwhile they started 6-0. They are a virtual fastener to determination to 3-0 by precocious Sunday nighttime arsenic the Magic, adjacent healthy, volition vie for the NBA’s worst record.

ObiObi Toppin dunks the shot against the Magic.AP

When the Knicks’ antiaircraft centers return, Thibodeau has a pugnacious decision. He’s enjoying the speed-ball, small-ball alignment — perfected by Mike D’Antoni — that moves Randle to halfway and plays Toppin astatine powerfulness forward.

But erstwhile Nerlens Noel (hamstring) and Taj Gibson (paternity leave), who are some lousy 3-point shooters, articulation starting halfway Mitchell Robinson, Thibodeau whitethorn not person the guts to spell small-ball.

He whitethorn beryllium mounting the signifier for Gibson’s and Noel’s returns. The manager has utilized rookie Jericho Sims for 8 minutes astatine halfway successful the archetypal fractional earlier teaming up Toppin and Randle successful the 2nd half.

If Thibodeau decides the Toppin-Randle teaming is the mode to spell implicit Noel oregon Gibson, the Knicks’ individuality volition displacement from a defensive, grinding, shot-blocking unit to “gun and run.’’ The Knicks are ranked seventh successful gait truthful far.

“What we’re seeing successful the NBA contiguous is the premium that’s enactment connected shooting,’’ Thibodeau said. “Oftentimes, there’s astatine slightest 4 3-point shooters connected the floor. Now we’re seeing that there’s five. One of the things wherefore I deliberation we’re effectual erstwhile Julius is astatine the 5 and Obi’s astatine the 4 is due to the fact that the level is opened up and present we person driving gaps wherever we tin get to the basket. The large worth successful our squad is the versatility.’’

For each the speech astir continuity, this is simply a antithetic squad that could springiness antithetic looks — with adjacent much extent than past season.

“That’s a large portion of our teams occurrence is our depth,’’ Quickley said. “We tin spell a afloat 15. Everybody does thing existent peculiar with our squad and everybody knows what they’re bully at. And we play to each other’s spot and screen each other’s weaknesses.’’