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Knick Knacks: Keys to New York's Early Season Success

by Photo of Steve Scafidi

New York’s historic start has the city in an uproar. What is the key component so far?

Knick Knacks: Keys to New York's Early Season Success

In this article…

The Knicks have seen an ample amount of early season success this year. Actually, its the most they've seen in a few decades. New York's 12-4 start (11 wins in November) can be credited to the stellar team play and the principles of Mike Woodson's system.

What's been the spark for the Knicks? What is fueling this team to play above their potential? The answer is simple: teamwork and Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has become a proven leader for this ball club. Diving for loose balls and playing terrific defense are only a few things the superstar has added to his arsenal. Melo's prolific scoring is second in the league at 26 points per game. I believe Anthony has finally realized good hard play is contagious, especially when your superstar is playing with a high motor on both ends of the floor. The entire team has picked up on his energy and refuses to leave him standing alone.

When we look at these Knicks from a team perspective, their defense and three-point shooting stand out more than anything else. These are the principles Mike Woodson has put into effect and the team has stuck to. New York is ninth in the league in points allowed per game only giving up about 94 on average, and the team is 10-1 when holding opponents to under 100 points a game. Of course, this defense is anchored by reigning DPOY Tyson Chandler, who has been a juggernaut on the boards for New York. Then, somehow, Jason Kidd still remains atop of the league in steals per game with about two per game.The Knicks are also shooting a blistering 41% clip from beyond the arc which is third in the league thanks to the terrific all around shooting of the team. 

Steve Novak has finally found his groove the past three games shooting 11-22 from three. He is accompanied by the great shooting of Raymond Felton and Carmelo also. Upon Jason Kidd's return from injury, it will only add to the Knicks outside attack.

Continuing to build on the positives, New York's ball movement has to be the prime ingredient to racking up 12 wins. A lot of this can be credited to veterans Kidd and Felton, but also veteran-rookie Pablo Prigioni. Prigioni asked for more minutes and has delivered upon his request filling the shoes of the absent Jason Kidd by getting everyone involved. JR Smith has also done surprisingly well in distributing, averaging three assists this year.

In a nutshell, it has been the Knicks as a whole that are the reason for the early season success they are seeing. Each and every player knows their role and what is asked of them in order to win basketball games. If this style of play can be kept up all year, there's no telling how far the Knicks can go. Is all of that play sustainable? The shooting might dip slightly as the year progresses and players cool down. But the defense and team ball can always stay at a high level, and that is what the Knicks will need to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference this season.

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