Mike Woodson's Slow Jams

Mar 21, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 82-79. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Oh yeah.

The Knicks' pace factor this season (estimated number of possessions per 48 minutes) is third-highest in the league. That, of course, is the relic of a Mike D'Antoni-led squad that forced a lot of turnovers, committed a lot of turnovers, and, yeah, still took plenty of quick shots even if they weren't exactly a fast break club. Mike Woodson has coached the team for five games and he's seen no need to rush, baby. Justin Kubatko writes:

When D’Antoni resigned on March 14, the Knicks had the second-fastest pace factor in the N.B.A., at 94.2. Under Woodson, the Knicks have slowed things down considerably. They have a pace factor of 90.8, the league’s 12th slowest.

This falls in line with something I've noticed since Woodson took over-- the Knicks are taking shots laaate in the shot clock. The looks are usually good, but New York wrings out most of those 24 seconds before they approach the rim. Now, since we're dealing with a small sample size (which Kubatko notes), it should be noted that three of the five games have been against Indiana and Philadelphia-- two slow-paced, defensively competent (though the Pacers sure didn't look it) teams. So, we've got a bit of a trend, but probably need to see the Woodson Knicks in more contexts to get a sense of their style and identity.

What's neat is that when the Knicks have looked to score quickly, they've enjoyed plenty of success:

During their win streak the Knicks are scoring 1.4 Points Per-Fast Break, during their losing streak they were scoring 1.1

The guys clearly have instructions to book it when, say, Jeremy Lin gets a long rebound, and it's paid off. Altogether, New York has been the league's fourth-most efficient offensive, and again, that's against some ostensibly solid defensive clubs. And the Knicks have obviously been playing some wonderful D themselves. Really, the Knicks have just been wonderful of late. I don't know what to do with myself.

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