After the loss to the Nuggets, the Knicks received some dreadful news: Josh Harrellson fractured his right wrist and will be out approximately six-weeks from the date of surgery.
Now, coming into the season, if you told me that our second-round draft pick was going to be injured, I’d be upset, but I wouldn’t expect it to effect the team too much. No one really expected much from Jorts, but, luckily, he’s proved to be a consistent role player that helps the Knicks on both ends of the floor. Losing him is going to REALLY hurt the team.
Let’s take a look at what we are going to miss:
On defense, Harrellson’s hands are always up, he’s always in position, and he always boxes out. So far this season, Harrellson has held his opponents to .46 points per possession (PPP) in isolation situations, which is good for third in the entire league. He has also held his opponents to 21.1%, in spot-up situations. Harrellson is a valuable defender because he is able to move his feet and stay with his defender, but also close out on his man.
To put it in perspective, let’s compare Harrellson to Jeffries, since Jeffries is going to play a lot of Harrellson’s minutes.
Jeffries has not played too much this year, so let’s look at his most active defensive situation: spot-ups. Jeffries has defended spot-up jumpers 17 times this season, while Harrellson has done so 21 times. As I said earlier, Harrellson has held his opponents to 21.1%, while Jeffries allows his matchup to shoot 37.5%.
After losing Shawne Williams to the Nets, the Knicks were in need of a competent shooter to replace him. Last season, Williams shot 41% from deep, in spot-up situations. A capable shooter is very important for this Knicks team, because when Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire gets double-teamed, there is someone open for the shot. Now, Harrellson isn’t shooting 41% from deep, but he’s pretty close, at 37.5%. Harrellson has attempted 40 spot-up threes, so the sample size is not to be overlooked. Without Harrellson on the floor, the Knicks will have to hope Bill Walker, and others, will be able to step up their shooting, in an attempt to cover for Harrellson.
According to 82Games, the Knicks’ points per 100 possessions rises from 99.5 to 106.6, when Josh Harrellson is on the floor, while the points allowed per 100 possessions drops off from 108.9 to 93.3, a significant decline, when Harrellson is on the floor.
It’s not difficult to see how much of an impact Jorts has had on the Knicks this season, so his presence will be greatly missed.