This is a very interesting read, i will bold the main points.
By KEVIN CLARK
A few minutes before a game against the Washington Wizards earlier this month, the Knicks coaching staff slipped one piece of information to their defenders: John Wall, the rookie sensation who had carved up defenses with his speed and agility, made 72 percent of his shots when he was driving to the rim.
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Ronny Turiaf impedes John Wall's path to the basket in Knicks' 112-91 victory over Wizards on Nov. 5.
The number, simple but vital, began to register in the heads of each player. There were pages of scouting reports and mountains of videotape, but this one number clicked more than all of that.
"So we made sure all night that when he came down on the fast break he saw bodies in the paint," forward Anthony Randolph said. "We had to make sure he thought twice about [driving to the rim]."
Every time Mr. Wall looked to the basket, the Knicks would be there. They blocked his path and drew charges—and Mr. Wall finished with nine turnovers, 13 points and only four field goals, his least productive game of the season.
Though they were a disappointing 3-7 heading into Tuesday's game in Denver against the Nuggets, the Knicks increasingly are benefiting from the use of these advanced statistics, even if it has yet to result in more victories.
They have grown into a team with what one assistant coach said is a "counter-culture" view of basketball, relying as they do on new, in-depth ways to measure on-court success.
Want to understand the Knicks? Throw away the box score and turn on your laptop.
Knicks' Pick-n-Roll Is MIA Knicks Suffer Growing Pains in Defeat Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni began to rely on quantitative statistics when his team's up-tempo style made basic statistics such as points scored, points allowed, total rebounds and total steals misleading.
Instead, the Knicks rely on statistics like "ball movement,'' which calculates how many assists per field goal, "total shooting percentage,'' which calculates basic field goal percentage but also puts value in being fouled, and "effective field goal percentage''—which is a weighted percentage that incorporates three-pointers.
Effective field goal percentage is perhaps the Knicks' most telling statistic, due to their heavy reliance on three-pointers, Mr. D'Antoni said. For instance, if the team is making 40% of its three-pointers, it is equivalent to 60% of regular field goals.
This Knicks team is shooting a subpar 43.5% in regular field-goal percentage, but that figures improves to 48.3% when three-pointers are factored in.
Mr. D'Antoni relies on such statistics to give him a more accurate read on how his players are performing in the high-scoring games his style produces.
"A lot of people throw out stats without thinking about it and you get a bad rap," Mr. D'Antoni said. "The teams in Phoenix were always pretty good defensively, but we would score 120 and give up 110, and they'd say 'Oh, you beat them with your offense,' But even 110 is pretty good defense because we had so many possessions.'
While the Knicks have given up an alarming 105 points per game, enough to rank in the bottom five of the league, their points per one hundred possessions, the number the Knicks look at, ranks 11th in the league.
The problem this season has actually been their offense. They rank 25th in points scored per 100 possessions at 103.2.
Players say the reliance on advanced statistics comes in most handy when preparing to defend an opposing player.
For example, Knicks guards were informed that the Warriors' Monta Ellis shot better than 50 percent when he was able to penetrate near the basket. So the Knicks worked to prevent that and limited him to 22 points, his lowest total in the month of November.
A New Way To Keep Score
The Knicks rely on these statistical measures to measure performance.
SCORING EFFICIENCY: Points scored per 100 offensive possessions.SHOOTING EFFICIENCY: Also called effective field goal percentage, a statistic adjusted to incorporate a three-pointer's value.TRUE SHOOTING: Incorporates field goal percentage, three-pointers along with getting to the free-throw line.BALL MOVEMENT: Assists per field goals made.PACE: Possessions per game.FG OUTSIDE PAINT: The percentage of two-point shots made outside the paint, which is statistically the worst shot in basketball. (Source: New York Knicks) The Knicks aren't alone in their reliance on advanced statistics. Teams like the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder are at the forefront of the trend.
Shane Battier, the Rockets forward and stats advocate, said that it took him about five years, "blind faith" and experience to fully trust the new numbers. He said it will take the Knick players time to develop a similar trust.
"What they've done is force a lot more bad shots, and in this league that means long twos and over time, those poor shots create wins for the defense," Mr. Battier said.
Sometimes, however, execution is more important than information. In a game against Minnesota, the Knicks were told to watch out for forward Michael Beasley, who went to his left when driving in the lane 80 percent of the time. Knowing this information, they still couldn't stop Mr. Beasley, who used his favorite move to score many of his 35 points.
Similarly, the Knicks knew Rockets guard Kevin Martin shot 80 percent when he pulled up for a shot from the left side. Mr. Martin still scored 28, with the majority of those points coming from the left side.
Already, however, the numbers' focus has begun to have its converts on the Knicks. Wilson Chandler said it's been useful to learn that he shoots 70 percent when coming at the rim from the right side, and he said he's adjusted his game accordingly.
Mr. Chandler said a typical statistics-driven speech from the coaching staff involves telling the team to push the ball, since their effective field goal percentage improves the quicker and more often they pass.
There are also some players, like forward Amar'e Stoudemire, who stick to the basic scouting reports instead of delving into the numbers.
The person most responsible for statistics on the coaching staff is third-year assistant Kenny Atkinson, a former pro who was skeptical about numbers until he served a stint on the Rockets' coaching staff. As more information was presented to him, Mr. Atkinson started to rely on statistics as much as video or scouting reports.
For example, Mr. Atkinson said he was delighted that instead of telling point guard Rafer Alston he needed to improve his play near the basket, he could quantify it, telling him he's in the bottom-third percentile in that category, a motivator like no other, Mr. Atkinson said.
Though assistant coach Phil Weber said Mr. D'Antoni's staff has tried to use numbers since their days in Phoenix, the biggest difference now is technology and the ability to get such in-depth numbers instantaneously.
Basic hustle plays that were tallied only in the minds of hard-nosed coaches are now documented in detail. "Deflections", for instance, are counted and stressed by the Knicks—guards Toney Douglas and Raymond Felton are the best on the team.
The stat also helps quantify another hard-to-measure concept: energy. If the team's deflections dips below 20 per game, Mr. D'Antoni knows the team's energy is lacking.
Center Ronny Turiaf said the value of these statistics was driven into him as a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Mr. Turiaf is one of the Knicks' most statistically valuable players.
Plus/Minus, a rating that measures how a team fares when a given player is on and off the court—and a stat studied by Knicks coaches—puts Mr. Turiaf at plus-25, the highest on the team. His true shooting percentage is 64.5, the highest on the team. His recent absence with a leg injury has been a major factor in the team's recent slump.
Of course with such a struggling team, it's not surprising that the Knicks have not achieved any of Mr. D'Antoni's statistical goals, all of which are designed to help them win more games.
Knicks president Donnie Walsh, a 40-year veteran of the NBA, is open to the newfangled statistics, but does have some reservations about it.
"Everyone in The Garden knew Lenny Wilkens was going left and he still did it," Mr. Walsh said. "I can tell you that scouting report: Don't let him get by you."
No computer needed
What do you guys think?
STAT says that the players just need to buy into the system....
is it really the coach?
is it really our defense?
or is it ou offense that is crippling us? if its really the offense, we need to lay off of coach for a bit and wait it out until Azubuike, Randolph, Curry and Turiaff are back to full strength.