After a tough loss in OT to the LA Clippers on Saturday night, February 4th, in which the fickle finger of blame got pointed to RJ Barrett — who had a piss poor offensive shooting night — Knicks Coach Tom Thibodeau was asked about RJ’s recent defensive numbers.
According to Zach Brazilier of the NY Post, Thibs offered this response: “Quite honestly, I look at some of those numbers and they’re meaningless to me. I haven’t seen a good ratings system yet defensively, and I think I’ve studied it pretty hard for a long time.”
A day later, after a win over Philly on Feb 5, 2023, Thibodeau elucidated what defensive stats he does think are important:
“The rebounding, the defense, and low turnovers — those three things put you in a position to win.
When you look at all the markers — the markers that I think are important:
- Field goal percentage
- 3-pt Field Goal Percentage
- Points in the paint
- Transition points that you give up
- Rebound Margin
We’re in top 5 in all of those categories. I know what we’re capable of and the numbers say that.”
Below are the current NBA team defensive leaderboards that Thibodeau was referring to.
Could not easily find Team Rebound Margin, but Knicks are currently 3rd in the NBA in team rebounds:
In the game against Philly, the Knicks DEFENSE limited Philly to 97 points, in the Knicks 108-97 win. Isaiah Hartenstein did a good job using his big body to keep Joel Embiid at bay; Jericho Sims added athleticism; Julius Randle played good D up front as well. In the backcourt, Quentin Grimes limited James Harden, and Miles McBride and Immanuel Quickley added their defensive pressure. Evan Fournier hit 5 threes but also played aggressive defense as did the whole Knick team.