New York Knicks

New York Knicks embracing the 3-pointer and it's already paying dividends

The New York Knicks are off to a flying start this season and they've got their 3-point shooting to thank for it.

They currently rank first in 3-point makes per game at 17.5, second in attempts (46.0) and eighth in percentage (38.0), with four players shooting over 35+ percent from beyond the arc in Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, Alec Burks and Kemba Walker.

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Last season the Knicks were one of the best shooting teams from long-range in terms of efficiency, but they never relied on it, finishing near the bottom of the league in attempts. This season is a different story with the additions of Fournier and Walker in particular helping spark their long-ball barrage.

Thibodeau's teams across the past five seasons

YEAR TEAM 3P% (Rank) 3PM (Rank) 3PA (Rank)
2016-17 Minnesota Timberwolves 34.9% (20th) 7.3 (30th) 21.0 3PA (30th)
2017-18 Minnesota Timberwolves 35.7% (19th) 8.0 (30th) 22.5 (30th)
2018-19 Minnesota Timberwolves 35.1% (20th) 10.1 (23rd) 28.7 (26th)
2020-21 New York Knicks 39.2%(3rd) 11.8 (21st) 30 (27th)
2021-22 New York Knicks 38.0% (8th) 17.5 (1st) 46.0 (2nd)

In Tuesday's 112-99 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Knicks seized control of the game in the first half, bombing 10-of-16 from beyond the arc, finishing 16-of-37 (43.2 percent) on the night as they put a halt to their 15-game losing streak against their Atlantic Division opponents.

In a 5:49 span in before half-time Walker reeled off a perfect 4-of-4, hitting jumper after jumper for 10 of his 19 points for the game, much to the delight of the home crowd.

"I was waiting for that moment," Walker said.

"It was the kind of moment I dreamed of when I was a young kid wanting to be in the NBA, watching the Knicks play, coming to a Knicks game and seeing how the crowd goes crazy. That was a great moment for me."

While RJ Barrett and Julius Randle haven't yet found their range from deep this season, the pair have both not been afraid to get them up and although it's only been four games, the 3-point shooting has told the story of the Knicks' season so far.

In their season-opening win against the Boston Celtics, they buried 17 triples to keep pace with Boston's 21 and the following game, they set team records for 3-pointers attempted (54) and made (24) in a win against the Orlando Magic.

Per Second Spectrum, 46 of their 54 3-point attempts against the Magic were either "open" or "wide open" and it's no surprise they went down the following game against the Magic after connecting on just 13-of-48 from deep.

Live by the three, die by the three.

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