It's a given that the offense is going to be all kinds of nasty this year, but I wanted to look at the most highly criticized part of the Knicks the past 2 years: Defense. I'll be explaining the Free Safety Effect/Jared Jeffries Theory and have some more convoluted questions after the jump.
Q: What is "The Free Safety Effect"?
In essence, it's the role that Jared Jeffries played well for us in the beginning of the year, "roaming the middle" as Seth put it in a lot of this past posts regarding D'Antoni's zone defense. Then, after Jeffries got traded, we had a combination of Gallo/Chandler/Al Harrington/Dead body trying to take his place, but to not nearly the effect Jeffries had. From a statistical perspective, 82games.com roster breakdowns seems to show that Jeffries was the glue that kept our defense afloat.
Here's where Anthony Randolph comes in. I understand that we're all psyched to see him handle/shoot/dunk/block like a champ with all the the tools he has, but what I'm particularly excited for is his 'Free Safety' Role.
AR doesn't have the same basketball IQ as Jeffries, but he has better physical tools then Jeffries. Yes, Jeffries was very adapt at getting the charges and had hustle for days, but I think AR, with a lil bit of coaching, can play the same role Jeffries did, with the added of bonus of being competent of offense and the constant threat of him breaking down emotionally from a crazy block/dunk.
Yes. In all ways, including D. Felton was also part of one of the stingiest D's in the league last year, although much of that had to do with their Man-to-Man rotations. Regardless, it shows Felton's defensive IQ and ability to play team D (exception: his play vs. Jameer Nelson). To Duhon's credit...actually no, I'm not going to compliment him. Screw him (see any bias?).
Q: Any improvements from the hold overs?
DWTDD is only going to get better at DWTDD after a full year of NBA play + another training camp.
Gallo has already shown that he can at least play average D and more importantly, shows the desire to be great at D.
Chandler, I'm always dubious of b/c I think people give him too much credit for the D he plays. He has all the tools, but every time I watch him play, it just seems like there's something missing. If he had 3/4 the desire that Gallo has to play D, I think he could be a above average to great defensive player.
Q: What about the new guys?
We already know plenty about Buike and Safari. They bring a lot of hustle and those ESPN NY articles have already done a great job of profiling them. Best note though for me is about Safari:
According to Synergy data, opponents scored on only 34.8 percent of their pick-and-rolls against a tandem featuring Turiaf, ranking him third best in the league (league average is 40.3 percent).
For a league that uses the pick and roll as their butter play, this is crucial. Also, although I can't find it anywhere, but STATmitzvah's P&R defense hasn't drawn rave reviews. Thus when STAT and Safari are on the floor, Safari can handle the P&R defensive responsibilities.
Q: Does 7SOL even have room for defense?
Yes, but as Pringles likes to mention, it's more about the players vs. the system. Pringles relies on his rosters individual talents to play D and with this roster, I think he has those players in place at plenty of key roles (wing, PG, agile big men) to get that key defensive stop.
Q: What about the Russian?
Well, he can't be worse the Curry....right? Plus, I'm sure he'll be screaming russian expletives after a monster block. "Na kaleni, suka!!!"