The New York Knicks are mired in the worst slump of their season and most believe it is related to the defensive end of the game.
The 58-year-old was initially put in charge of the defense after the team began the season dead last in defensive efficiency through their first six games.
The strategy was to have Rambis, a close friend of team president Phil Jackson, help the team on that end of the floor, but the results have not been there for the Knicks, as they sit 26th in defensive efficiency through 39 games, according to ESPN rankings.
Their 108.6 points allowed per game also ranks 25th in the league and second-worst in the Eastern Conference.
While Begley’s report does not include any names, it’s worth considering that Courtney Lee (who played under Dave Joerger in Memphis and Steve Clifford in Charlotte), Lance Thomas (who played under Monty Williams in New Orleans), and Joakim Noah (who was a Defensive Player of the Year under defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau in Chicago) are all veterans on the Knicks roster that come from very strong defensive backgrounds.
Rambis was meant to be a makeshift adjustment for an already horrid defense that was predicated on defending the triangle offense — a scheme very few teams run in this era of the game — but despite a switch to a more conventional man-to-man defense, New York has mightily struggled to keep teams from scoring buckets.
At some point, the blame has to meet in the middle within the players and the coaching staff, as Noah hasn’t been the defensive disruptor he was signed to be, looking a few steps slow of his usual frenzied defensive style.
The 17-22 Knicks appear to have lost all faith in his defensive game plan — aside from the myriad of issues they face right now, if they can’t string together a few wins within the next week, they might just be at a point of no return.