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Kevin Pelton on New York's Slow Start

Kevin Pelton is one of the smartest people on Earth who knows who Nathan Jawai is. The man analyzes basketball with a degree of sophistication that makes gray matter ooze out of my ears, so when I see that KP's got something to say about the Knicks, I tend to listen. His most recent article is of particular interest. Though the basis for the piece's publishing was the Allen Iverson flirtation, it's still worthwhile after the fact. Using graphs, and presumably a bit of wizardry, Pelton demonstrates that a lot of the Knicks' suffering can be attributed to sub-awful starts from a few rotation players. Wilson Chandler, Chris Duhon, and Nate Robinson have each opened the '09-'10 campaign with a whimper, and it shows in a series of charts plotting each of those Knicks against comparable players. I won't try and explain the methodology here, but long story short, Wil, Du, and Nate stuck in Slumpsville like you wouldn't believe, particularly in regard to their shooting percentages. It's as evident in the numbers as it is on the court that their collective crappiness is more than a little detrimental to the team's overall success.

Pelton uses this evidence to break down the now-bygone Iverson possibility:

In this context, the Knicks' pursuit of Iverson looks like an overreaction to a slow start that isn't reflective of the team's talent level. Slumps or no, New York has room to improve its core talent, but the backcourt seems like an odd place to look, given it was the team's strength a year ago. In particular, the Knicks' existing guards already offer similar skill sets to Iverson's. Robinson is a prolific scorer in a point guard's body, just like Iverson, except that he was the more effective of the two players a year ago. A similar description also applies to rookie Toney Douglas, who has been an efficient scorer off the bench this season. Even if Iverson is an upgrade on Douglas, it's not worth cutting into the playing time of a youngster who is a part of the team's future.

See? Smart people sometimes agree with me. Read more for more detailed analysis, as well as data from the one Knick guard who's stepped it up in the early-going.

Anyway, the Iverson stuff seems to be behind us, but when discussing the Knicks' abysmal offensive start, the conversation should probably begin with the trio of Knicks mentioned above. Either start hitting or stop shooting, fellas.