The Knicks were a surprisingly strong last year at shooting 3-pointers, finishing tied for second in the league at 39.2 percent. But they were near the bottom of the NBA in the percentage of their field-goal attempts that came from beyond the arc (34.8 percent) and attempts per game (30.0).
Only five teams attempted a lower percentage and only three took fewer 3s. They want to improve on those numbers.
“We want the right 3s,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought our percentage was a reflection of taking the right ones. Like I don’t want to take random ones where we don’t have floor balance and we can’t get back. So to get the defense to collapse, to attack it before it’s set where we have a numerical advantage, but to take the right ones. So try to get away from the long two.”
Thibodeau said he believes taking more 3-pointers is also possible because the Knicks have more players capable of beating their man off the dribble, such as new additions Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker.
“Sometimes it’s drive, pass, pass, and if we do that, we’re going to get a good look,” Thibodeau said.
Derrick Rose suggested this week that the Knicks should attempt between 37 and 40 3-point shots per game this year, which Thibodeau believes is a realistic goal.
“I like shooting 3s, so I guess it works for me,” said Fournier, who shot 41.3 percent from deep last year. “But I think it’s about playing the right way, taking good shots and adding shooting is going to help.”
Last year, Immanuel Quickley was a surprising contributor right out of the gate, a rookie who almost immediately earned Thibodeau’s trust. Miles McBride believes he can be that player this year.
“Yeah, definitely,” the former West Virginia star said. “I feel like my defense is something I can always lean on. Then offensively I can make shots. I think defense is something that’s going to get me on the floor.”
McBride was a projected first-round pick by most experts, but wound up going in the second round (36th overall) to the Knicks. His on-ball defense stood out during the NBA Summer League. Now the question is whether he can guard well enough to force his way onto the court.
“We’ll find out,” Thibodeau said. “That’s what I like about him and [first-round pick] Quentin [Grimes]. Both have a defensive component to them.”
Center Mitchell Robinson (foot) and guard Luca Vildoza (ankle) are still not practicing. Thibodeau said Robinson has been doing more in workouts.
“He’s making good progress,” the coach said.
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