The Knicks have played six games so far, and they're an even 3-3. They've certainly improved off year's past and their defense is playing better than it has over the last decade.
There are some things, though, that can get better. If those things were better, the team would be 5-1 instead, because they haven't played bad in any of their games.
Here are the five things the Knicks must get better at if they plan on going to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
The Knicks are attempting way too many three pointers. It seems that a third of their attempts are from behind the line and every time they really need points, they go for three.
They started out ice cold from three during the first couple of games before knocking down 17 of them in one game in Chicago. They had some success the next game against the Wizards, but couldn't hit any of them against the 76ers in Sunday's loss.
It's not only annoying to watch, but it's not smart. The Knicks signed A'mare Stoudemire in the offseason to help in the paint and posting up. They're not using him enough in those potential situations and are instead letting Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, and Bill Walker sometimes to attempt three pointer after three pointer.
It's costing the team a shot at easy buckets and some big points. The Knicks have to start evening out their field goal attempts between threes and twos.
The Knicks have never been a good defensive team but this season, you could say they are one. They block, steal, and deflect passes. They even have guys in opponents' faces which is a rarity for the Knicks.
One thing they still can't seem to do is play good transition defense. Pictured for this slide is a Chicago Bulls player dunking in front of Stoudemire. You can bet that was on a Knicks miss on the other end. Or at least most of the dunks against them are on misses.
Whenever the Knicks miss a bucket and can't get the rebound, it seems teams have a guy already waiting by his bucket on the other end for the easy score.
Or they can't keep up with their opponents on the fast break. Looking at the numbers, the Knicks have outscored teams on the fast break. But, you wouldn't know it by watching.
Most of the time they allow fast break points in the most crucial moments. Their transition defense must get better.
Alright, so maybe this is picky. Every team in the NBA commits fouls during a game and now more than ever. League officials have become accustomed to blowing the whistle for every little jump a defender takes in front of an opponent with a ball in hand. But the Knicks? They commit way too many per game.
In Sunday's loss to the 76ers, both point guards—Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas—had already committed four or five fouls by early fourth quarter. Even Stoudemire, who's had trouble at seemingly everything so far, is committing too many fouls in games.
What's the problem with having guys with too many fouls by early fourth quarters? It takes away the aggressiveness from those players and allows opponents to pick on them. That leads to either an easy score or your player fouling out. That's not good.
It's time for the Knicks to remain aggressive, as their defensive scheme is working, but try a little harder at not getting tricked into committing fouls. Lou Williams of the 76ers on Sunday drew three three-point fouls, mostly everyone on Wilson Chandler.
Perhaps the worst thing about the Knicks so far through nearly two weeks is their lack of making free throws. They used to be great at it. Although Chris Duhon was an awful point guard, he never missed a free throw, making over 40 in a row at one point.
Guys like Stoudemire and Gallinari are known for being successful free throw shooters but they aren't doing it.
How many times can you recall so far a Knicks' player going 1-for-2 at the line? Plenty of times if you watch every game and that's why the Knicks have lost two of their three games.
They lost by four points to the Celtics, missing nine free throws in that game. All they needed was five of those nine to win. They lost by five points to the Blazers, missing 11 free throws in that game. All they needed was six of those 11 to win. Even in Sunday's loss to the 76ers, the Knicks missed 10 free throws and lost the game by—10.
There's the proof and evidence that the Knicks may be losing due to one other huge reason to follow, but that free throws have also cost them.
Excitement during a Blazers game that the Knicks would blow
Same Old Knicks. That's the phrase to use although this team has plenty of potential. Why use such a phrase? It's because this team still doesn't know how to close a game out. And it's until that point that the team will go on winning streaks.
This team should be 5-1 and it's not because I'm being a homer. Just use common sense. In the picture shown, Raymond Felton is showing off after making a huge bucket against the Blazers on October 30. It was the Knicks home opener and they took a nine point lead with about six minutes left. Little did Felton know the team would lose the game.
You can't blow leads of nine with six minutes left and especially at home. There's just no excuse for that. With Stoudemire on the court, there's even less of an excuse to use.
They had the nerve to do it again. In Sunday's loss to the 76ers, the Knicks led by nine in the third quarter. Although there was still time, the 76ers aren't any good. Once again, the game was in the Knicks' home.
Those are two games that should've been won. Two things are causing this. One is the Knicks not scoring anymore after taking the big lead. The other is the Knicks not playing with the same defensive intensity and fouling too much.
It would be nice to build a lead bigger than nine because it isn't against the rules. Maybe it wasn't meant to be for the Knicks to be 5-1.