There is no doubt the Westchester Knicks have made improvements from their inaugural season. The Knicks have been getting a boast on offense all season. Jimmer Fredette is leading the team in points per game, 21.7, and is shooting 41.9 percent from beyond the arc. Westchester is getting solid performances from Travis Trice, who is averaging 15.0 points per contest, and Ra'shad James, who is providing the team with 16.3 points per game off the bench. While the Knicks have been productive on offense, in terms of field goal percentage, the team is having success due to their defense.
The team's defense has been stellar this season. Westchester has not two, but three, defensive minded players in their front court in Darion Atkins and Jordan Bachynski. Both Atkins (ACC) and Bachynski (Pac-12) were awarded Defensive Player of the Year in their college conferences, respectively. Both players have contributed towards the team's defensive scheme. While the former Arizona State product can get in foul trouble on occasions. Despite the foul trouble, Coach Mike Miller praised Jordan Bachyski's defense. "Defensively, he is an elite defender," Coach Miller said.
When the defense comes up strong, the offense follows. "I think the games that we played our best defense are the games we played our best basketball," Bachysnki added. "There are so many times where we play great defense and get a stop and it leads to transition buckets."
When the Knicks defense comes through, the team can make a run in transition. "BLOCKchynski" is a huge presence in the paint, standing in at 7'2", so any opposing player will have difficulty when penetrating through the lane. In a recent game against the Erie BayHawks, guard Keith Appling attempts to drive through the lane, but the 7'2" center was in his path. Jordan Bachynski swats away Applying's layup. After the ball was tossed around, Devondrick Walker ended up with the ball, who found Travis Trice for an easy layup.
Along with Bachynski and Atkins, Thanasis Antetokounmpo is another quality defender in Westchester's front court. The Greek native has shown the potential to be a good three-point shooter, as he has had a several games where he shot well from downtown. Not only has Antetokounmpo shown his athleticism to get down the court for a chase-down block, but he can be a good shot blocker as well.
Even though Westchester has several good defenders in the front court, the Knicks have a solid defender in the back court in Jordon Crawford. Don't let his small stature fool you, as he stands in at 5'6" and 150 pounds. Throughout the season, Crawford has shown he can be a solid on-ball defender.
He can be a disturbance to an opposing guard on defense. Although his size can be an issue when matching up against the guards, Crawford's size allows him to be quick and attack the basket. The former Bowling Green product has seen improvements on offense while being thrusted into the starting lineup. In the six games he started, Crawford averaged 15.8 points, 3.2 assists, and shot fifty-one percent from the floor.
While the Knicks' biggest strength is their defense, their offense can get the job done. With their strength on defense, along with the scoring Fredette, Trice and James provide, this team can make noise in the playoffs.