In the past month, every sports media outlet has been talking about how the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks have made additions to make them contenders. Even though the season is still very young, both teams have been average at best, showing no signs of being able to compete with the likes of Oklahoma City, the Mavericks, Chicago or Miami. The main reasons for this is that neither team knows how to play any kind of defense and neither team has the depth to contend. The Clippers are a dominant offensive team and have been given the nickname “Lob City”. While they are currently 5th in points per game and 2nd in assists per game, they’re defensive stats are abysmal ranking 30th in rebounds per game at 35 (league leaders are in the high 40’s) and 26th in points allowed per game at an astonishing 98.4 while the league leaders are allowing around 85 points per game. As we have all heard, defense wins championships, no team can simply outscore their opponent come playoff time.
The Knicks have two of the best players in the league in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, however they’re team statistics rank among the worst in the NBA. Even though they are in the middle of the pack when it comes to points per game, they are 29th in rebounding, 25th in assists and 27th in points allowed without any hope of improving after a terrible loss to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, giving up 118 points. It’s pretty bad when you play a team who is just as bad on defense and you can’t even outscore them. After watching the second half of that game, I could not be happier that the Bulls didn’t trade for Carmelo. There is no doubt that he is arguably the best, pure scorer in the NBA, but he is not a team player nor a leader. There we’re countless possessions where he took the ball up the court, dribbled around for 20 seconds while waving his teammates away and took an ill-advised shot.
The other problem is that neither team has a bench capable of providing productive minutes for either team. The Clippers top reserves, Mo Williams and Randy Foye are both point guards who are behind their two starting point guards and they’re best backup big man is Brian Cook. The Knicks best reserves are Landry Fields and Bill Walker who are average at best players in the NBA. Putting these two major deficiencies together is a recipe for a low playoff seed and an early exit. Don’t believe the hype from any media outlet or analyst when talking about these two teams. Sure, they are very entertaining to watch, but when a team is constructed without any defensive background, they will NEVER succeed in the NBA.