It’s early in the 2023-24 NBA season, but the New York Knicks are once again one of the league's strongest rebounding teams.
Last season, New York finished third in rebounds per game, only behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies. They were third in offensive rebounds per game, which helped shape their identity during the season. The Knicks finished third in second-chance points in the 2022-23 regular season.
I point this out because we are seeing similar results to start this season. New York is a top-five unit in offensive rebounding and just outside the top ten in defensive rebounding. Overall, this is good enough to place them as a top-five team rebounding the ball.
When it comes to second-chance points, they are tied for fourth. This is important because the Knicks are not shooting the ball well. They have been a decent three-point shooting team but rank near the bottom in field goal and free-throw percentage. Their strong offensive rebounding and second-chance points have allowed them some leeway from poor shooting.
In the opening four games, the Knicks have outrebounded their opponents in every game. The margin may be small, but it could make all the difference with a critical rebound in a late-game situation. They have outrebounded opponents 57-34 in offensive rebounds and outscored them 71-32 in second-chance points. New York is also in the top five in defensive rating and the top 12 in steals. They don't play a pretty or flashy style of basketball like the Nuggets, Celtics, and Warriors do, and that’s okay. The Knicks will limit your points in the paint and second-chance opportunities and play a grinded-out style. Tom Thibodeau’s squad is in the top ten for points off turnovers per game.
One area the Knicks could improve in is points in the paint. They are in the league basement currently and were around average last season. Scoring inside, some improved shooting, and continued rebounding will put this team in the right direction.
Julius Randle has been excellent rebounding to start the season. The two-time All-Star is averaging 11.3 rebounds to lead the team. Mitchell Robinson once again has been strong, averaging 10.3 rebounds and 5.5 offensive.
Follow Josh on Twitter for more Knicks news and stories.