Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
BOSTON - The Knicks are 1-5. That's not the start that anyone - from management on down - was hoping for coming into the season. But several players said after Friday's loss in Boston that they believe the on-court success will come.
"Once we figure out the offense, teams are in trouble," point guard Elfrid Payton said in an interview with an SNY late Friday.
Several players in the locker room pointed to their solid play on defense as reason to be optimistic despite the poor record.
"Defensively we're ready," Payton said. "Just continue to work the offense. It will come with time, we've just got to learn each other."
The Knicks held Boston to 44.6 percent shooting in the loss. They're holding teams 45.3 percent shooting for the season. That ranks 18th in the NBA thus far and would've ranked 10th overall last season.
New York ranks 19th in defensive efficiency, which isn't anything to get excited about, but the club ranks 6th in rebound percentage and 5th on points allowed in the paint.
Payton predicts that the Knicks could be a top-five defense in the league this year.
"Tough players," the guard said when asked what he sees from the group. "A lot of people that take pride in not allowing their man to score. That's it. That's half the battle. Having pride and keeping your man from scoring. A lot of guys here take that serious."
Knicks coach David Fizdale has preached defense and ball movement regularly since the first days of training camp. New York has struggled on that end of the floor continuously during its six-season playoff drought.
So any effort/improvement on that end will likely be welcome with open arms from a fan base that's sat through five consecutive 50-plus loss seasons.
Payton's optimistic that this team can be elite defensively, but he isn't counting any moral victories during the Knicks' 1-5 start.
"Nobody is happy with that (record)," Payton said. "Just give us some time. We want to win just as bad as the next person. Nobody here is in to moral victories. Obviously we want to get this thing turned around as soon as possible."
We're right there, we're that close," he added. "We're very optimistic but still trying to move with a sense of urgency. Once we get (more reps on offense as a group) I think the outcomes will be different."
ROBINSON SPRAINS FINGER
Mitchell Robinson suffered a sprained left finger in the second half of the Knicks' loss. He returned to the game after getting x-rays and said afterward that there was some issue with the ligaments in his finger. Robinson dislocated a finger in his right hand earlier in the season.