How does Knicks use floats to be offensively effective


When Isaiah Hartenstein He first arrived in Los Angeles last fall, and Los Angeles Clippers He had his modification. A particularly tall and well proportioned player, Hartenstein is a rare 7-foot player with touch. It’s based on a feathered float, but the team suggested it go further to the edge – so they’ll get a better look at that twisted shot.

The ball started to come in again. and again. and again. The clippers soon realized that if they didn’t break…

“They just let me swing with it,” Hartenstein said.

Florian Hartenstein learned from his father Florian, a former professional player who was often an examiner and rebel. Florian wanted his son to be more versatile than he was. Today, Isaiah says that the float is the easiest shot in basketball, even simpler than the volley, because staying 5 or 6 feet from the ring often means avoiding contact.

The numbers support Hartenstein’s sentiment. He made 55 percent of his floats last season, number 11 among the 116 eligible players in the NBA, according to data tracked by Second Spectrum and made available to the athlete.

It is no coincidence that nicks Hartenstein wanted when he arrived at free agency last summer. The front office appreciated his defense of paint and passing, but there was a secondary signing bonus for the 24-year-old as well: those floats are very effective. And boy, do Knicks like those kinds of looks.

It seems that crafting some kind of teardrop is a prerequisite for entering Madison Square Garden these days. Emmanuel Quikli He is a self-taught buoyancy teacher, thanks to used wrappers and bags of chips.

“I started shooting floats at about five[years]old, throwing garbage in the trash,” he said. “Just throw it in. If he gets in, he gets in. If he doesn’t, go to the ground and pick him up.”

The two largest free agency acquisitions of the Knicks from last summer, Hartenstein and Galen Bronson (who shot floats last season at 52 percent, according to Second Spectrum), learned how to make the shot without the help of a litter. Bronson’s father, Rick, who is now an assistant with the Knicks, was also a professional player, and taught his son the move.

“All I learned is basically from him,” said Galen Bronson.

Derek rose He has a pontoon. RJ Barrett He’s been working on one since last season. Heck, even Julius Randle He spent the summer sharpening a buoy, which was not in his arsenal before. Two contestants in the first quarter tried to beat the Orlando Magic earlier this week.

The Knicks shot the floats, and they did it consciously.


The Knicks has perfected the Isaiah Hartenstein floating center. (Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Coach Tom Thibodeau calls it the “modern middle shot.” New York has made a concerted effort to change its shot profile over the past two seasons. The team wants more than 40 three-pointers in a game and was proud of the number of times it made it to the charity strip a season ago when it finished second in the free-throw average.

Knicks is going strong in that direction now. Part of the change is to replace unnecessary mid-range jump floats with floats, which have a slightly higher percentage of 2 seconds long, a higher error rate and a higher offensive bounce rate. A float 5-8 feet from the basket forces the rim guard to ascend, leaving the hoop open.

In 2021-22, NBA Teams stumbled on offensive rebounds nearly twice as often from missed floats as they did with mid-range jumpers. And the numbers stand out even more for the Knicks.

One of the reasons it was called Thibodeau Mitchell Robinson The top offensive player in the league earlier this season is precisely because of Robinson’s work on the floats. The organization is well aware that Robinson is the best in the world at reclaiming those shots – and it’s nowhere near as good.

Robinson’s offensive rebounded with 28.5 percent of the Knicks’ missed floats last season, the best rate in the NBA, according to Second Spectrum. Think of it like this: the average offensive rebound rate of a league on floats for a team It was 31.1 percent last season, which means Robinson alone bounced back for those mistakes as did the entire lineup.

When a Knicks player takes a float, there is a realistic chance that possession will not end with that shot.

“That’s true for everyone,” Tibodo said. “I think it’s one of the reasons we are such a good offensive rebound team; we get into the paint.”

These boards lead to easy second chance points as well, considering that many of them happen because Robinson’s defender is behind him competing in a shot. Once the ball touches his fingertips, no one will be able to stop the ball being thrown.

Creating many floats also opens the baseline of the blocks. For example, if Quickley is driving his cannonball, forcing a frenzied defender to help advance and compete in one of his shots, a big guy like Robinson can be patiently low waiting to unload or, even more confused, cut Obi Tobin It can fly from the lop corner.

“I just want us to attack the edge, and do the reading right,” Tibodo said.

For the most part, that’s what Nicks did. Four games this season, the Knicks have taken 23 shots in one game from a floating range, the most in the NBA and about 10 shots compared to the 2021-22 average. They take fewer average jumpers because of that.

The Knicks finished 23rd in terms of points per possession last season. In today’s method, a very early way of analyzing the league leaders, they are fifth, which should come with a pinch of salt, considering their light schedule thus far.

However, the process looks different than it did a season ago. Bronson staged the offense as none of the point guards from last year could. They are playing faster. They modified the shot profile, cut out the mid-range jumpers and got to the edge more. Sometimes this means a layup. But when they can’t make it to the basket, they have another option, a better option than pulling out an ineffective 2 long pointer.

“When you look at the numbers when the ball hits the paint before being released, it forces the defense to collapse,” Tibodo said. “The numbers are going to go up. … I think the recent mid-range shot right now is floating in the lane.”

(Top image by Jalen Brunson: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)


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