This is to be played in the background while you read this post. Make sure you turn the volume up to its Big Williest setting.
I mentioned early on how it seemed like the Knicks were switching every time a screen was set on defense. I spoke of this (somewhat disapprovingly) after the Knicks lost to the Suns a few weeks ago:
The Knicks' defense for the Suns' pick-and-roll was a little odd, and I wish someone could get video of this. Basically, Amare would set a pick on Nash's man, which was usually Nate Robinson, and Nate wouldn't even make an effort to fight over the screen. Instead he'd switch to Amare, and then quickly switch again with whoever was defending behind the perimeter. Thus, you'd have Nate on a perimeter player (usually the bigger Richardson or Hill), Duhon or QRich on Amare (not much of an improvement if you ask me) and Harrington or Tim Thomas guarding Nash. This happened maybe a dozen times. That's gotta mean that Nate was instructed to go under the screen, and I trust that D'Antoni's got a good idea of how to defend the Nash-Amare pick-and-roll that he pioneered.
Turns out I'm not seeing things. Gian from 7SoM has the video evidence from last night's game in New Orleans:
Very clear what the gameplan is. I'll take back my earlier criticisms and say that this type of D can work against many teams. One guy that occasionally throws a wrench in this plan is David Lee. I don't know how many times this season I've seen Lee frozen after his man sets a pick, leaving someone with an open lane to the basket. It's hard to say whether he's lazy, forgetful, or confused, but Lee's gotta switch if that's the gameplan. Otherwise, you may as well lay down a red carpet for opposing point guards en route to the rim. Anyway, props to Gian for the video, and props to Coach D'Antoni for utilizing his undersized lineup creatively. I wonder if teams have started picking up on this strategy and how they plan to combat it (Best bet: have a point guard that can J. Worked for Nash). The switch-happy D will be back in action tomorrow night against Washington. See you then.
Turn it over now.