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The Knicks are shooting way too many mid-range jumpers

The New York Knicks have yet to score in the triple-digits, and it's pretty apparent that their shot selection is to blame.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Derek Fisher's New York Knicks are the last in the NBA in scoring at 91.6 points per game, a fact that shouldn't be thrown out there without also pointing out they are rightly playing at the slowest tempo in the league. In doing so, the Knicks have kept games relatively close, but a six-game losing skid has them frustrated.

A 97-95 loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday had Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith wondering what happened on the final play of the game, when Smith thudded a long three-point attempt off the glass rather than deferring to his star teammate.

Debate that as much as you want, because there are bigger overarching issues.

Let's forget that Fisher is running the Triangle Offense for a moment and consider what that offense is producing -- and more importantly, where.


Many of the league's best defensive teams will let their opponents to shoot in the mid-range area because it's the least efficient shot in the game. But the Knicks are doing it voluntarily, taking 41.3 percent of their shots outside of the paint, but inside the three-point line.

That makes the three-adverse Los Angeles Lakers look sane. At the beginning of this season, Lakers coach Byron Scott questioned why his team should shoot more threes and he took a lot of criticism for it. His philosophies have the Lakers as the NBA's second most mid-range happy squad, shooting 36.5 percent of their attempts from that area on the floor. But that's still well behind the Knicks' pace.

While the Knicks have different personnel problems, the general idea behind all the criticism thrown at Scott applies here too. Only a handful of NBA teams have a shot distribution in the mid-range that is above 30 percent, and maybe only the Washington Wizards at 35.4 percent can get away with it because of their ability to score with John Wall driving or Marcin Gortat working in the post.

That's not the Knicks. New York is also struggling to score at the rim and is the worst team in the league at getting to the charity stripe. Fisher's team takes 15.4 free throw attempts per game, less than half of the league-leading Sacramento Kings' 36.6 foul shots attempted per game.

Here, the Knicks may just lack the personnel. Anthony has his own issues scoring around the basket and his 4.8 free throw attempts per outing are down from his career average of 7.7 per game. Smith isn't exactly eager to get to the stripe, and no perimeter player outside of maybe Iman Shumpert can both get to the rim and finish. Inside, Samuel Dalembert isn't exactly a one-on-one option, while Jason Smith would rather pop out for elbow jumpers than go into the paint. And Amar'e Stoudemire is expectedly far from his old self, drawing just two foul shots per game.

Combined all that with the Knicks ranking in the bottom-10 in the league with only 18.8 three-point attempts per game, and the offense is predictable. It's on them to make long twos and they aren't, hitting 43.7 percent of their shots overall.

In an era where coaches put the emphasis on effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentages that adjust for three-point shots and free throws, New York is simply playing with fire. Throw in a league's worst three-point defense and you have the Knicks' record.