As the first month of this G League season concludes in a week, the Westchester Knicks (2-7) have seen a bit of everything. Exciting victories. A five-game losing streak. The common struggles of newer and younger players playing together for the first time on this level. But even with that said, there are still various reasons to be excited in Westchester, especially after this last week of action.
Between last Tuesday’s 109-95 victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and their 110-93 loss to the Delaware Blue Coats on Friday, the W-Knicks began pointing in the right direction in a few critical areas. The W-Knicks had 11 combined players score 10-plus points in their last two games, and six of them shot over 50% from the field. Whether it was Andrew White III breaking out of his mini-slump or Kenny Wooten and JJ Moore successfully playing off the ball, there wasn’t a shortage of ways for the W-Knicks to score.
Although the W-Knicks did produce a shooting line of 38%-28%-61%, they still took care of the ball by committing six fewer turnovers than Delaware (13 to 19) and allowing Amir Hinton, Moore, and Wooten to be more aggressive when needed (they actually scored 41 points on 60% shooting).
Besides giving up 110 points to Delaware, the W-Knicks’ defensive struggles were bigger than the final amount of points allowed. While it was mainly highlighted in this past Friday’s loss because of the good games by guards Shake Milton (18 Points) and Xavier Munford (21 Points), the W-Knicks also struggled in defending the perimeter vs. Fort Wayne as their trio of Brian Bowen II, Ike Nwamu, and Stephen Hicks made eight out of 14 three-pointers and crashed the glass for 16 rebounds.
If the W-Knicks want to improve their defense, they must strike a balance between shutting down the paint and limiting the number of disadvantaged situations their guards are in. As for their inside defense, they have a very good shot-blocker in Wooten and Ivan Rabb has been working hard on that side of the floor. That’s one of the biggest differences between this year’s team and last year’s. Size. The 2018-’19 W-Knicks had a rotating front-line of Luke Kornet (7-foot-2), Stephen Zimmerman (6-foot-11), and Isaiah Hicks (6-foot-8).
Up next for the W-Knicks is a quick return home as they’ll face the Santz Cruz Warriors on Wednesday before embarking on a three-week road trip.