Throughout the season, the front court play of the Westchester Knicks has been solid. Jordan Bachynski and Darion Atkins presence on defense is evident. Keith Wright has been productive in his short time in Westchester. On the other hand, the backcourt play has not gone unnoticed.
Coming off a 10-win season, the Knicks needed to straighten their backcourt. None of the guards from their inaugural season returned this season. When the D-League draft came rolling around, Westchester looked for help to solidify their backcourt. With the second overall pick, the Knicks selected Jimmer Fredette. Along with adding Fredette in the draft, Westchester brought in Travis Trice as an affiliate player. Fredette and Trice have been keys to the success in the Westchester Knicks' back court this season.
The duo have given this backcourt some life, which was something the team lacked last season. Jimmer Fredette is widely known for his scoring and pulling up from three. Not only did the BYU product average 21.1 points per game, but he has connected on forty-one percent of his shots from downtown this season.
Not only has Fredette found success in his first season with the Knicks, but he has performed well against the best team in the D-League, which is the team Westchester faces in the playoffs, during the regular season. The Glens Falls, New York native has faced Sioux Falls three times, but was limited in their last meeting due to illness. In the other two games, Fredette averaged 36.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game while shooting fifty-seven percent from beyond the arc. He is looking to continue that success in the playoffs. "You want to be able to play well leading up into the playoffs; to build some momentum and get yourself ready to go," Fredette told Ridiculous Upside.
One of the leading factors to the Knicks success is the chemistry that Fredette and Trice have built this season. The duo has spent most of the season together outside of Fredette's two 10-day callups; Jimmer Fredette started off the season with the New Orleans Pelicans and then received a 10-day contract with the New York Knicks following the All-Star Break. When you mix the attributes both players have, it makes it more challenging for opposing defenses.
Both players can shoot the ball well. Jimmer is known for his three-point shooing, as he has knocked down forty-one percent of his shots from downtown. He can pull up from three at a minutes notice. His back court partner, on the other hand, is deadly in the mid-range area.
Although Trice is not known for his three-point game, he has added that part of his game in his rookie season with the Knicks. "I feel like you got to have the right balance in between," Trice said. "Early on people were playing me for the mid-range, so I started switching it up and pulling up for three." In the last three months of the season, the Michigan State product shot forty percent from three-point range.
Both players have shown the ability to facilitate the offense. When both share the court, Trice mainly handles the role of point guard, but that does not mean Fredette can't handle the offense. "The beauty of that is we both can score," Travis Trice said. "If one of us gets the rebound and pushes it, we know that guy can run the break and make the right plays and get other people involved. It just makes it that much easier when we have both of us on the court together." Both players averaged about five assists during the 2015-16 season; Trice averaged 5.7 assists and Fredette totaled 5.0 assists per contest.
When both Fredette and Trice are playing at a high level, this duo has shown that they were one of the best backcourts in the D-League. Even though one is a rookie, Trice, he has taken advantage of Fredette's veteran presence. Even though the two have had success in the short-term, their teamwork and chemistry jolted the Westchester Knicks into the playoffs.