The 2014-15 New York Knicks are a team chasing destiny -- that destiny just happens to be a franchise record for losses in a season and top odds in this summer's draft lottery. They are a franchise that knows what they want -- i.e. losing -- and are pretty damn good at getting results, Monday night's shenanigans aside.
As you might expect, this Knicks squad ranks dead last in the NBA in a whole host of categories, on both ends of the court. How many categories? It is a question I now ask of you, the ever-patient fan who has already suffered through far too many hours with this team.
Let's play a little game, y'all...I call it "Last or Not Last." I will name a category, and you must decide whether the Knicks rank at the bottom, or somewhere slightly above the bottom. I'm using Basketball-Reference stats here (updated as of Tuesday afternoon), and I'm holding you honor-bound not to peek. Here we go!
1. Margin of victory
2. Offensive rebound percentage
3. Defensive rebound percentage
4. Opponent free throws per field goal attempt
5. Opponent three-point percentage
6. Opponent three-pointers made
7. Opponent three-pointers attempted
8. Free throw rate
9. Opponent effective field goal percentage (eFG%)
And here is the answer key:
1. Margin of victory: NOT LAST
Lucky for us the lottery doesn't take this statistic into account. The Knicks might not be losing hardest, but they are losing smartest (and most often).
2. Offensive rebound percentage: NOT LAST
The Knicks rank a surprising 16th in the league in offensive rebound percentage, up from 2012-13 (19th) and 2013-14 (19th). It's almost as if grabbing offensive boards isn't the most important facet of the game!
3. Defensive rebound percentage: LAST
This statistic, on the other hand, has trended downward -- much in the same way an anvil trends downward when dropped off a cliff:
- 2012-13: 4th
- 2013-14: 18th
- 2014-15: 30th
That 2012-13 squad famously played Carmelo Anthony at power forward the vast majority of the time. Just sayin'
4. Opponent free throws per field goal attempt: NOT LAST
Gotta be honest...I expected the Knicks to come in last in allowing trips to the free throw line. How wrong I was! The Knicks are 28th.
5. Opponent three-point percentage: LAST
6. Opponent three-pointers made: LAST
7. Opponent three-pointers attempted: NOT LAST
Woo-hoo! The Knicks are holding strong at 23rd in the NBA in opponent three-point attempts. Awfully sporting of those fellows on the other teams not to chuck more threes...particularly when they seem to be so darned good at it.
8. Free throw rate: LAST
The Knicks hit a grand slam here, coming in last in free throws made and attempted, as well as free throw rate and free throws per field goal attempt. And much like the Denny's Grand Slam, analyzing New York's free throw numbers often leads to bouts of explosive diarrhea.
9. Opponent effective field goal percentage: NOT LAST
New York ranks 28th in opponent eFG% (29th in overall defensive efficiency) thanks to their two-point field goal defense, which clocks in at a robust 19th. That "packing the paint" defensive strategy is really paying off...so long as the league goes back and retroactively bans the three-point shot.
So how did you do, my friends? Let us know in the comments.