Note: Basically I'm going to say right here that this addresses a lot of the arguments that people were claiming in the GDTs right before the All-Star Break. I would have wrote this sooner, but was in Boston the past 4 days and it took a good 10 hours to just get the funk of being there off me. But more importantly, I'm going to come to the same conclusion as Paul Chillsap did in his very, very well done fanpost about the importance of the rotations the Knicks need to use, I'm just going to get there using different statistics, and no anecdotal evidence.
First off, hello Party People. I've missed this website this past weekend when I was out of town, so its good to be back. Second, off I'm going to address head on the notion that some users were claiming that the Knicks' defense has degraded terribly, while the offense has stagnated since the 18-5 start. That's just not true, and I found the numbers! Thank you Seth, for directing me in the right direction, so here we go. Here is the offensive and defensive efficiency ratings for the Knicks during the 18-5 start.
Stats taken from here.
A few things to note: One the Knicks defense efficiency was actually not that good during the first 23 games. The Knicks allowed for 102.3 points per 100 possessions, which was good for 18th in the league. Obviously the Knicks made up for it, by having an off the chart ORtg of 111.1, which was second in the league.
Here is what happened from December 17th (Houston Massacre) to today
Stats from the same place as before (just fiddled around with the time)
So basically the Defense has been allowing slightly more points, and the offense has taken a hit. I would argue that this is due to the higher amount of turnovers, and a slightly less efficient FG%. It is worth noting that if the Knicks ORtg all season were a 106.9 (its not, its higher obviously) it would be 6th in the league, and above the Clippers (a team with a better record and a better start through 23 games than us). So basically, a 111.1 ORtg was unsustainable, and the ORtg they are at now, is still very, very good. The defense seems to have regressed, but only a bit. The difference between the two is 1.5, and in the time from December 17th to now the Knicks DRtg in that time is 15th in the league. That's better than i twas in the first 23 games of the season.
So what does this all mean?
It seems that in the past 27 this team has regressed slightly to the mean, and due to a combination of factors they just happened to go 14-13 in that time-period. The Knicks have the 3rd best efficient Offense Rating in the league overall, and the 15th best Defensive Rating. The Knicks operate at a slow pace (6th slowest in the league) and are still very efficient in turnovers (best turnover % in the league), and finally have the 8th best eFG% at 51.2%
So why were we so mediocre in this time? The stats show that the Knicks seem to be unlucky and that over long trends they should be winning a lot more than they did in this time. Calculating expected Win Percentage using this formula for the past 27 games the Knicks were expected to win 16.3 games (so they were projected to have gone 16-11 in the past 27), so yeah they were a bit unlucky.
Obviously stats cannot 100% be conclusive as each game is independent of each other more or less, so why have the Knicks gone through a mediocre streak? The best possible answer I can give you is, a) sports are weird sometimes and b) Mike Woodson is still working through going through his personnel and that period gave him a better answer to how and when he should be using different rotations.
My point is, the Knicks haven't really changed how they are playing basketball in terms of having a potent, efficient offense, and a slightly better than mediocre defense. They've had injuries to luckily only role players who will be in limited minutes, and had two major cogs in their machine needing to be integrated into the offense within the past
Saying the Knicks have fallen off their hot start is ridiculous. They really haven't, and the stats show this. They've regressed slightly, as have everyone else. Now they need to continue to make adjustments as other teams have done to them. The second half looks bright, so don't get too down. This happens to be a very good team, like it or not Party People.