Why Nobody Should Believe Carmelo Anthony Will Sacrifice Scoring for NY Knicks
Forget the Sports Page—this one belongs in one of those "news of the weird" sections.
In a separate sit-down with the Journal, the 6-foot-8 Anthony said the scoring aspect of his game doesn't matter nearly as much to him much anymore. "I'm tired of scoring 30 or 40 points a game. There's probably going to be times where I have to do it, or I'm in a groove," he said, promoting his new Jordan brand shoe line. "But if I'm doing that night-in, night-out, we're not going to have the balance that we need to win."
Well, we've all been there. Dropping 40 on a regular basis gets old.
Anthony certainly has a point, and it's a point that his detractors have been making since his days with the Denver Nuggets. When the ball stops moving and 'Melo starts isolating, his teammates lose their rhythm and threaten to disappear from games altogether. Kobe Bryant has dealt with the same thing at times, and many great scorers do.
Yes, Anthony has a point—we just shouldn't be too quick to believe it.
Or even agree with it.
Sure, it's conceivable that Anthony could excel as a less-utilized option, so long as Mike D'Antoni isn't the one calling the plays anyway (via the Washington Post). It's just not entirely clear that such a scenario is all that plausible or desirable.
In a perfect world, the Knicks really want Anthony doing a lot of passing and scoring. After all, when Carmelo scores, he draws more defensive attention and becomes a more effective passer as a result. Though Anthony has only averaged a little more than three assists over the course of his career, there's still an argument to be made that he's the Knicks' best all-around playmaker outside of Jason Kidd.
And given his success when isolated on the wing, NYC shouldn't be looking to take the ball out of his hands. It should be looking to broaden the range of things he'll do when it is in his hands.
But it's hard to imagine Anthony becoming a second-option or otherwise deferring amidst some kind of ensemble approach. If that's really what New York wanted, it should have kept Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.
You bring in a guy like Anthony to take games over. That's who he's always been, and that's when he's at his best.
Though there's something intuitively appealing about the idea of a more free-flowing, harmonious Knicks offense, there's also something equally horrifying about the prospect of Anthony again trying to change his game. After spending two months shooting the ball under 40 percent (and a third at just under 42 percent), Carmelo finally blossomed in April as new head coach Mike Woodson gave him the ball and let him go to work.
Simply scaling back on his field-goal attempts might not trigger another extended slump, but does anyone really want to risk it?
Might we be better off just telling Anthony to do whatever he feels like doing, preferring the rest of the Knicks to settle in around him?
No, that's not how you typically want to run a team, but Anthony isn't a typical player. He's the kind of guy who'd make Ayn Rand proud, proving that selfishness can be a virtue sometimes. He's not the kind of guy you ask to "play a role."
In theory, $20 million a year should buy you more than that.
And in practice, the Knicks need it to.
As deep as this club is, it's not replete with scorers, especially of the "create your own shot" variety. Outside of Amar'e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert, the Knicks are comprised of defensive specialists and spot-up shooters. They need Anthony to be himself.
You almost wonder if his hinting otherwise isn't some kind of ploy. Maybe the plan is to defer for a month or two until fans and media start begging him to take every shot, culminating in a "Well, if you say so" kind of moment.
Surely he doesn't actually mean it.
Let's hope he doesn't anyway.
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