The New York Knicks are as bad defensively as the worst teams in the NBA

Kidding aside, why has the Knicks’ defensive struggles coincided with their string of struggles in frontcourt personnel? Carmelo Anthony was acquired, not long before free agency began, to fix this problem. When Anthony left…

The New York Knicks are as bad defensively as the worst teams in the NBA

Kidding aside, why has the Knicks’ defensive struggles coincided with their string of struggles in frontcourt personnel?

Carmelo Anthony was acquired, not long before free agency began, to fix this problem. When Anthony left after the season, the Knicks had one of the least imposing frontlines in the NBA, but they somehow still finished third in defensive rating.

But signing Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah to shore up the middle should have been a step in the right direction. But the two are both 25 and haven’t been a healthy duo since the 2013-14 season. Howard, meanwhile, missed 15 games due to a back injury and Noah sat out a third straight season due to a hamstring injury.

Irrespective of this talent presence in the middle, the Knicks consistently were among the worst defensive teams. Here are the top 25 defensive ratings last season:

22. Phoenix Suns

23. Phoenix Suns

24. Dallas Mavericks

25. Phoenix Suns

Mavericks beat out the two-time defending champion Spurs and perennial playoff team Cavaliers. These were all mediocre offenses.

By the way, everyone else near the bottom of the standings had young stars: the Pistons at 29th, the Warriors at 27th, the Thunder at 23rd, the Nets at 20th, the Pistons at 22nd and the Hawks at 19th.

The Knicks’ defense is 18th.

They’ve quietly taken three steps back. They won’t be lucky again.

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