The 2-0 New York Knicks have put the NBA on notice two games into the season. It's not just that the Knicks are winning, but how they are winning. In each of their two wins, the Knicks have used the three-point shot as a weapon. They went 17-45 from deep in double overtime with a 138-134 win vs. the Boston Celtics in the opener. In the next game, they set a Madison Square Garden record with 24 threes made in a 121-96 win vs. the Orlando Magic. When did the three-point shot become such a weapon for a Tom Thibodeau coached New York Knicks? What set this up as the season began? I'm sure Madison Square Garden will jump if this keeps up. Will this surprising philosophy continue?
The New York Knicks are a three-point shooting team now?
Tom Thibodeau knew what he was doing when he said the New York Knicks would shoot more three-point shots this season. Acquiring Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier immediately made the New York Knicks a better shooting team. Fournier is a 38% shooter from the arc and vs. Orlando, his former team, Evan Fournier scored 32 points and hit 4-9 three point attempts. Kemba Walker had just 11 points vs. the Orlando Magic, yet made 3-5 from behind the arc. Julius Randle scored 21 points, pulled 10 boards, dished seven dimes and shot 2-6 from the arc. The New York Knicks starters shot 9-35 themselves from deep, and it looks like the Knicks are of the thought that the three-point shot is the best shot to take. Are you wondering why that happened?
Madison Square Garden is rocking
After the New York Knicks double OT victory vs. the Boston Celtics, Madison Square Garden was alive like it was the 1990's. Before the emergence of the New York Knicks after the halfway point last season, the only reason to cheer in MSG was because you were there in attendance. If the New York Knicks keep this up, MSG will be a must-see on TV more than it already is. Tom Thibodeau understands the sense of urgency. Team president Leon Rose and GM Scott Perry went out and got the players they needed to build on last season's success. This proves the New York Knicks will be more than a Madison Square Garden draw this year.
Why the change?
"In early February, the Knicks installed a high-tech computerized shot-tracking device, designed by the company Noah Basketball, for each of the six practice courts at their Tarrytown campus."
It was only after using the technology that the New York Knicks shooting increased favorably. Tom Thibodeau has pushed for new technology and has seen considerable improvement both individually and team wise. R.J. Barrett, for instance, saw his shooting improve from 32% to 40%. The New York Knicks are on to something.
Battling in the Atlantic Division
It would make sense for Tom Thibodeau and the New York Knicks to jump start the team by adding things here and there to compete in the Atlantic Division. With every team on the up and up, the New York Knicks must try everything to make a considerable Atlantic Division leap and jolt the Eastern Conference with more New York Knicks success. The Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers are elite three-point shooting teams, and if the New York Knicks want to truly keep pace, increasing their three-point shooting output is a necessity. Thibodeau believes that when long shots go up, offensive rebound opportunities are presented as well as a chance to set up the defense. In other words, follow your shots young folks.
Derrick Rose to the rescue again
Tom Thibodeau's continued trust in Derrick Rose is paying off. Within 24 minutes, the former NBA MVP scored 12 points, shot 4-6 from deep and had a +34 on the night - which was a game high. Derrick Rose off the bench anchors the second team. When he's hitting three-point shots with that ability to drive to the basket, he's the cagey veteran Tom Thibodeau needs to blanket his philosophy over a team seeking an identity to go along with a newfound chemistry. It seems Thibs is using Derrick Rose as a teaching tool and a player he can direct in such a way that the team understands and follows that direction. The New York Knicks as a three-point shooting team is something the NBA needs and the Eastern Conference desperately needs. The 2021-22 NBA season is off to a hot start, and as the New York Knicks look to improve, Tom Thibodeau knows, in shooting he trusts.
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Q. Can the New York Knicks keep up this three-point shooting pace?
Yes, of course!