Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
A few notes in the aftermath of the Knicks' loss to the Lakers:
NYK looking for more aggressive Knox:
Before Wednesday's game, Mike Miller laid out what the organization is looking for from second-year wing Kevin Knox:
"Our key points there are just his overall aggressiveness on everything... He's rebounding better. That was an area that we wanted to see (from) him and he has increased that. And you can see our team rebounding has gotten better and he's part of that equation. Being more aggressive where he's driving the ball, where he's cutting, where he's running in transition, where he's having opportunities to get fouled. I think we're seeing those things. And just the consistency of doing all that. And then on the defensive side having a real presence on the ball and using physicality, using his length, getting three to five deflections a game, that type of activity defensively."
Knox is averaging nine fewer minutes per game this season than he played last year as a rookie. Fewer minutes has led to fewer shots. The No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft is taking 6.6 shots per game, down from 12.2 last season.
Knox started for the majority of last season. This season, he's played behind Marcus Morris. Assuming the Knicks hold on to Morris at the trade deadline and they remain out of playoff contention, it will be interesting to see if the organization decides to give more playing time to young players like Knox over the veterans.
Last year, the Knicks decided to play young big men ahead of veteran Enes Kanter, which led to some acrimony between Kanter and then head coach David Fizdale.
Ntilikina getting good shots:
Speaking of young Knicks, Frank Ntilikina impacted the Knicks' game against the Lakers on the defensive end, but he struggled on offense. He missed all eight of his shot attempts against Los Angeles and has missed 23 of 28 attempts since coming back from a groin ailment.
"He's getting pretty good looks. We want the guys to stay aggressive and get to their spots," Miller said after the Lakers game. "If you look at it, he had a lot of different kinds of shots. He had catch-and-shoots in the corner, which is a good shot for him. He tried to dunk one time, be aggressive, we like to see that. had a number of pullups getting off those elbows and he's been shooting that very well. So he's been getting to his spots, had a couple of them that looked pretty good and they just didn't go down."
Ntilikina has always been a strong defender but hasn't always been aggressive in looking for his shot on offense. The aggression is a step in the right direction, but surely the Knicks would like to see the shots begin to fall for the third-year guard.
Ntilikina is shooting 37 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc.
On a positive note for the young Knicks, Damyean Dotson was phenomenal against Los Angeles. The third-year guard/forward had 17 points in 27 minutes, hitting five of 11 3-point attempts.
"He came in right away and sparked us (in both halves). He was carrying the thread to make shots," Miller said. "He was moving around. Our guys did a good job finding him and putting him in good position to make shots."
Dotson has averaged 11.7 points on 52 percent shooting in his last three games, making 47 percent of his 3-point attempts.
East gives Morris hope:
The Knicks enter play Thursday 7.5 games out of the eighth spot in the East. Morris believes New York can make up that deficit, in part because of the nature of the conference.
"The plan is to continue to win, continue to develop. We still are not out of the playoff race. I think we're (7.5) games back," Morris said. "Hopefully, we put a good one together. But I think as a team we're trending in the right direction, some tough losses. The Sixers game, it was a five-second count, typical s--t. So that being said, we could have won that one against a really good team in the East. We go to Cleveland and play really well. And (against Los Angeles) we hold them to 100 points. So we're trending in the right direction.
"In the East, you never know. You put together a good stretch, some teams start losing, you never know. I just try to keep my head up for the team to go forward. Just so you know we're not packing it in, we continue to play, continue to fight."