The rather poor performance of the New York Knicks during the last couple of games in the preseason has been attributed to Joakim Noah's lack of defensive capabilities. This could endanger the center's tenure with the team especially since the Knicks are currently in the process of cutting down their roster.
In the final three games of the season, the Knicks' various opponents had a shooting average of about 50%. This was largely due to Noah's lack of speed when it comes to executing his defensive plays. As a center and a guy who was previously named as Defensive Player of the Year, the Knicks were certainly expecting Noah to have a solid game when they signed him back in July of this year.
On Sunday, Noah admitted that he's not doing a good job defensively. He attributed this to his long absences last year and during the start of the preseason due to injuries.
"We have to get better," he said. "Numbers don't lie and right now I feel a step slow defensively. And I have to do better. I have to do better for this ballclub. We all do."
"I mean for sure I feel like I haven't played in a long time. I just have to get my steps, get my first step back, and it will come. It will come," he added.
Head Coach Jeff Hornacek also noticed the dip in Noah's performance but he's still confident that the athlete will be able to return to his former self once the regular season begins.
"He's usually all over the place," he said. "He was kind of like that in the first bit of training camp. But since he (strained his hamstring and sprained his ankle), I think he maybe took a little step back but he's getting it back."
Noah's poor performance during the preseason could end his term with the Knicks, which began earlier this year after he signed a four-year contract worth $72 million. However, since the team currently has 15 players on its roster, it doesn't feel the pressure of waiving someone just to meet league standards.
Instead, the Knicks could resort to trading away Noah for a player who can be more reliable in terms of defense under the basket.