March 23, 2018, 3:32 pm
It’s been another trying for the New York Knicks who are en-route to their fifth straight losing season. They currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference at 26-46 and well out of playoff contention.
Their season didn’t always look like it was headed down this path. In fact as late as the New Year on January 1, the Knicks were 18-18 and perhaps on a surprise turnaround. Those hopes did not last, though, as the calendar turned to 2018 the Knicks have been one of the worst teams in basketball.
Their eight wins in 2018 are the third fewest in the league and their net rating is the fourth lowest. They won only one game in February and had a stretch of games where they went 1-16 through February and March. Once the season started to take a turn for the worst, they simply started free-falling.
Needless to say the Knicks are one of the many teams shamelessly tanking for superior draft odds. Kristaps Porzingis went down with an injury in February and from there it was easy to embrace the tank.
New York lacks consistent 3-point shooters with only three players averaging more than one make per game, preferring to play an interior game with Enes Kanter and Michael Beasley. Only one team in the NBA attempts fewer 3-pointers than the Knicks this season, and it’s the Timberwolves.
The difference between the teams is the Wolves rank 18th in 3-point percentage while the Knicks rank 28th.
In fact all over the floor the Wolves are a more efficient shooting team. The Wolves shoot 52.3 percent as a team from 2-point range, ninth in the NBA, while the Knicks shoot 50.4 percent, 18th in the NBA. On free throws the Wolves shoot 80.4 percent, second in the NBA, and the Knicks 78.7 percent, seventh in the league.
All over the board the Wolves are a more efficient shooting team, despite playing a similar brand of basketball.
The Wolves are in the final 10 game stretch of their season and are tied with the Utah Jazz for the seventh seed in the West. If the Wolves have post-season aspirations, they need to handle their business in these types of games.
The Knicks are a poor basketball team with an inefficient offense and no defensive resistance. This is a game that should be a breeze, but that hasn’t always been the case this season. The Wolves have an active seven-game losing streak against Eastern Conference opponents on the road, and only three were against playoff teams.
This contest is no shoe-in for the Wolves, but a loss would be a potentially devastating blow. So long as the team doesn’t get cold shooting and succumb to the New York night life, they should be in fine shape. There are no guarantees in this league, though.
Jeff Teague – PG
Andrew Wiggins – SG
Nemanja Bjelica – SF
Taj Gibson – PF
Karl-Anthony Towns – C
Emmanuel Mudiay – PG
Courtney Lee – SG
Tim Hardaway – SF
Michael Beasley – PF
Enes Kanter – C
Jimmy Butler (knee) – OUT
Derrick Rose (ankle) – OUT
Ron Baker (shoulder) – OUT
Joakim Noah (personal) – OUT
Kristaps Porzingis (knee) – OUT
Lance Thomas (personal) – QUESTIONABLE
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: 7:30 ET/6:30 CT
How: Fox Sports North