While the New York Knicks went on their storied run with a newfound Jeremy Lin at point guard, since Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire have returned to the lineup, they have lost much of that magic. Reeling while losing 6 of their last 9, Landry Fields has been the odd man out. During their successful stretch, he averaged 12 ppg and 3.3 apg, shooting 51% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. In Fields’ last five games, having lost minutes to Carmelo and JR Smith, he has halved his production: 6.6 ppg, 2 apg, 42% from the field, and only taking 4 three pointers. Using Synergy Sports, we see that Fields was using 9% of his possessions on cuts to the basket. In the last 8 games, he has had a grand total of 5.
Amare Stoudemire has also suffered through a rough year, from the loss of his brother, to the loss of spring in his knees. Look at the table below to examine the difference in his shot distribution from this year as compared to arguably his greatest year as a pro.
[table id=4 /]
Dirk Nowitzki has also had to adjust to his old age, and while his shot distribution is radically different than one of his greatest years as a pro in 2005-06, he has been able to maintain a consistent level of efficiency, and the Mavs record has improved accordingly.
[table id=5 /]Stats provided by Synergy Sports Technology
Notice how Post Ups have basically replaced his isolations, and he screens the ball more than twice as much now. The reasons for this are primarily age and wear and tear. Dirk doesn’t have the energy to isolate and beat his man off the dribble, and he also relies on his teammates much more to get him open shots.
While the Mavericks have been inconsistent, they’ve been showing flashes of their brilliant teamwork that won them a title last year. With their aging core of veterans resting more, and coach Rick Carlisle devising ways to accentuate what’s left of their talents, they are still in the hunt for a second championship. The Knicks are on the opposite end of the spectrum, with a younger team, with lots of parts that Mike D’Antoni has yet to make fit. Right now, Stat is playing like Maverick flew after Goose died – hesitant and afraid to engage. If he can rid those dog tags that seem to be strangling him, the Knicks have a chance to do some damage in the playoffs.