Traditional basketball thinking has always suggested that offensive schemes built around the 3-point shot were gimmicky and not suited for success. As analytics in basketball have progressed, we are seeing that this is not necessarily the case. Many teams in the NBA today are shifting to spread pick-and-roll systems and letting it fly.
The idea is simple. Shoot more threes, shoot more shots at the rim, shoot fewer attempts from the less efficient areas everywhere in between. Teams have discovered that shooting high volumes of threes at a decent percentage is much more effective than building an offense around longer 2-pointers with low-ish success rates and fewer rewards (2 points vs. 3). The Knicks are one of these teams.
The Knicks took more threes than any other team in basketball this season (28.9 per game). They also made more threes than any other team (10.9 per game, 37.6%). Coach Woodson designed and implemented the spread pick-and-roll offense, with touches of isolations and post ups mixed in.
This put pressure on defenses to make tough decisions on whether to stick to New York's spot-up threats or allow Felton and Chandler to play catch down the middle of the floor. New York also used Carmelo Anthony's offensive versatility to create outside shots. By getting him the ball at the elbow or the low post, they again put pressure on the defense -- this time they had to decide whether to leave Anthony single-covered or to send a double team.
New York's offense was at its best when the opposition double-teamed Anthony, allowing the Knicks star to kick the ball out and initiate ball movement to create outside looks. Offenses predicated around 3-point shooting are the new way to succeed in the NBA and the Knicks offense led the charge this year.
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