Most Startling Statistics of the New York Knicks' Season so Far

John Dorn@JSDorn6Correspondent IIINovember 21, 2012

Most Startling Statistics of the New York Knicks' Season so Far

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    The New York Knicks are off to the hottest start in the NBA, and are currently the talk of the league.

    Their hot start has been the result of several statistical highlights from both an individual and team standpoint.

    Simultaneously, there have been some numbers that've caused Knicks fans to cringe in the early stages of 2012. 

    It's difficult to judge so early in the season whether these metrics are actually significant. Some will deviate back towards the mean as the season trudges along. Some, however, will determine where the Knicks truly are as compared to the NBA's elite.

    Let's take a look at the stat-heads' perspective of the Knickerbockers' season thus far.

    All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through Nov. 19. 

Good: The Team's 83-to-138 Turnover Ratio

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    This season, Mike Woodson's Knicks have taken ball security to a whole new level.

    Last season, the team committed the second most turnovers in the NBA, only behind the Oklahoma City Thunder, with 1,056. 

    This season, Woodson's defensive brand of basketball has shined. The team has committed a league-best 83 turnovers through eight games, for an average of just 10.4 per game. 

    Jason Kidd, at 39 years old, has exemplified this strategy the greatest. The veteran guard has turned the ball over just five times this season, equating to 0.6 turnovers on average. His 4.8 turnover-to-assist ratio leads all NBA players.

    Chalk it up to a little game that Mike Woodson arranged with his players.

    For each turnover over 13, Knicks players owe a baseline-to-baseline sprint the next practice. For each contest the team commits less than 13 turnovers, Woody and his coaching staff run the sprints. 

    I guess it's safe to say the bit of motivation has paid off for both the Knicks and the now well-conditioned coaching staff. 

Bad: Steve Novak Shooting Only 38 Percent from Long Distance

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    Steve Novak opened the season on fire. A 5-for-8 shooting performance from beyond the arc against the Miami Heat was perhaps the biggest statement the sharpshooter could make after signing a four-year contract last summer.

    It was a sizzling start. But Novak hasn't had many reasons to break out the Discount Triple Check since.

    In the seven games since the opening night destruction of Miami, Novak has shot just 31 percent from beyond the arc. He has sank just 1.3 treys on average in that time, as compared to the 2.5 mark he put up last season when he led the league in three-point field goal percentage.

    Without his trademark three pointers, Novak brings close to nothing to the Garden floor. If he doesn't work out the issues with his jumper, Novak may play his way out of Mike Woodson's rotation.

    Update: After Tuesday's 2-for-10 performance from beyond the arc, Novak's three-point field goal percentage is down to 34 percent.

Good: Rasheed Wallace's PER of 21

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    When the Knicks inked Rasheed Wallace to a one-year deal at the conclusion of the offseason, many viewed the move as unnecessary and silly. Nine games into this NBA season, the 18-year vet is proving us all wrong.

    Despite being relegated to garbage minutes in the season's opening matches, Wallace played his way into regular minutes. Since entering the fold in the Knicks' third game, Wallace has averaged nine points and five rebounds in 17 minutes per game. 

    He's provided consistent post offense on a team that doesn't have a traditional force in that area. He's shot 45 percent from the field since the third game and acts as the defense's backbone in the paint. 

    If 'Sheed's legs can hold up over the course of a season, expect him to play a pivotal role during the home stretch. 

Bad: Tyson Chandler Averaging 7.9 Rebounds Per Game

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    After a season in which he acted as the heart of the Knicks team, Tyson Chandler has underwhelmed with his performance through the early portion of this season.

    Especially on the boards, Chandler has struggled. He's totaled only one game with double-digit rebounds. His defense has been strong as usual, but he failed to impress against powerhouses Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies

    Against Memphis, Chandler grabbed only seven boards, while allowing Randolph to tear down 15. 

    The Grizzlies appear to be one of the strongest teams in the low post, but Chandler will need to be able to compete with the best if he plans to defend his Defensive Player of the Year title. 

Good: The Team Is Allowing a League-Best 90 Points Per Game

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    Further carrying out their new defensively dominant plan of attack, the Knicks are allowing the lowest point totals in the NBA.

    And what a transformation it has been. Two seasons ago, the Mike D'Antoni's Knicks allowed just under 106 points on the season.

    Last year, after the addition of Mike Woodson to the staff, and eventually taking over as head coach, New York allowed 12 less points per contest at 94.7.

    This year, Woodson's defense-first crew is statistically the best in the league.

Bad: Ronnie Brewer's 36 Percent Mark from the Free-Throw Line

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    Ronnie Brewer was signed last offseason to contribute strong defense essentially in replacement of Landry Fields. Overall, Brewer has impressed past anyone's wildest predictions.

    From the free-throw line, however, is a completely different story. 

    Brewer has made just 4-of-11 from the stripe this year. The Knicks were aware that Brewer was never an offensive wizard—his true career shooting percentage is just 54.9 percent.

    But the most puzzling aspect of the situation is that the former Bull has shot 8-of-19 from three-point range this season. Brewer is dreadful from long distance in his career: 25.5 percent.

    He's no assassin from the stripe either—he's a 68.3 percent shooter from there—but you'd like to believe an NBA starter can knock them down at a better-than-36-percent clip.

    If not, Brewer may have trouble seeing the floor once Iman Shumpert returns from injury.

Good: The Team Has Committed Only 144 Fouls, Second Least in the NBA

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    The Knicks have played the best defense in the NBA by defending with their feet rather than their hands.

    What that's led to is the lowest foul total in the NBA. 

    This is especially beneficial to the Knicks, who aren't the best free-throw shooting team there is. To limit the opponents' opportunities from the line is a must, and they've carried out that plan tremendously. 

    Just three Knicks are averaging over two fouls per game. That's six less than last year's nine players to average over two (minimum 25 games).

Bad: The Team Is 28th in the NBA in Free-Throw Attempts

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    A key to the Knicks' success offensively last season was their ability to draw fouls and earn trips to the free-throw line. This season, however, they've struggled in that area.

    In 2011-12, the team attempted the seventh most free throws in the NBA. This year? 28th most.

    Center Tyson Chandler averaged over five free throws per game last season. That number has dwindled to three this season, which is second most on the team. Point guard Ray Felton has averaged only two. Everybody else besides J.R. Smith or Carmelo Anthony have attempted less than two per game.

    The Knicks aren't getting to the line, and when they do, they aren't taking care of business. Their 75 percent mark from the charity stripe is good for 16th best league-wide. 

    Mike Woodson will have to force his club to improve in both areas if he plans on leading them to greatness in 2013.