Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
We talked to scouts about RJ Barrett and their early-season impressions of the Knicks. Here are their thoughts on the team:
The Knicks' most-used lineup through four games is Barrett, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. That five-man group has been outscored by 21 points over 39 minutes. The next most-used lineup features the four places above but replaces Robinson with Bobby Portis. It has outscored opponents by 13 points over 27 minutes.
One scout who watched Monday's Knicks-Bulls game -- when Portis went off for 28 points -- suggested that Portis and Randle or Portis and Morris could be a combination worth looking at. But the scout suggested that having Randle and Morris on the court together would lead to inefficiencies on offense.
Randle ranks in the top 20 in the NBA in isolation plays so far. But he averaging .22 points per play on those possessions -- the lowest among the 20 players who have isolated the most this season. Just 10 percent of Randle's isolation possessions have resulted in points thus far.
But there's reason for optimism. Randle started finding open shooters as the short roll man in pick-and-roll situations late in the Chicago game. If that spurs him to keep an eye out for teammates on the perimeter, it could benefit the Knicks. Teammates are hitting 50 percent of their 3-point attempts off of a Randle pass. The Knicks average seven 3-point attempts off of Randle's passes per game.
MORE SHOOTERS: Two scouts who watched Monday's game suggest the Knicks play Wayne Ellington -- or any of their shooters -- more often.
New York has outscored opponents by 13 points in Ellington's 36 minutes. He seems to provide space for his teammates because he's such a threat from the perimeter. Kevin Knox II looks like another potential floor spacer for New York. The second-year player is hitting 47 percent of his spot-up attempts, per NBA.com.
Some unsightly numbers for New York through four games: They rank second-to-last in the league in assist percentage and 28th in turnover percentage. While they're scoring well off of turnovers they force, the Knicks are also allowing the most points off of turnovers in the league. They also have the second most unassisted field goals in the NBA. David Fizdale has been preaching the importance of ball movement since the beginning of training camp. You haven't seen the results, consistently, on the floor yet.