Which NY Knicks Teammate Does Carmelo Anthony Trust the Most?
Over the course of his career, people have called out Anthony's ability to work with teammates, with the criticism reaching an all-time high this summer with the whole Jeremy Lin situation.
But at the same time we were talking about Melo's relationships with his teammates, he was off in London for the Olympics, where the trust he had in the rest of the All-Star roster led to record-breaking success.
With players he clearly respected and knew how to play with, Anthony was dominant, scoring at will off the bench without even playing particularly big minutes.
The Knicks used their offseason to build a roster full of veterans and plenty of Melo's former teammates, and it appears to have paid off, with him showing just as much trust in them as he did with his fellow Olympians.
Let's take a look at who exactly Melo has instilled his trust in the most at this early point in the season.
With Melo only having six assists so far this season, he's not really looking to set up any particular teammate, but is instead showing trust by allowing them to create the plays.
Last season, Anthony was required to play as a point forward for much of the season, but this year, with the presence of Raymond Felton, he's happy to relinquish that role.
This trust in his teammates is shown most clearly when looking at his shot selection percentages. In 2011-12, 71 percent of Anthony's field goals were jump shots, which is coincidentally the same percentage in 2012-13 (via 82games.com).
What's changed, though, is that now 63 percent, as opposed to 37 percent, of these jump shots are coming from assists from the likes of Felton.
As you can see here against Miami—Melo's best performance so far—Anthony allows Felton to run the show for the most part and benefits greatly from it as things develop:
Most players in the NBA would be happy to put their trust in a guy like Jason Kidd, and Carmelo Anthony is no different.
From the moment the Knicks signed Kidd, Anthony was on board with the move, having previously working with the future Hall of Famer on Team USA years ago.
Instead of putting the entire weight of the team on his shoulders, Anthony trusts Kidd to help him out on offense, saying the following to The New York Times back in July:
I like the move. It takes a lot of pressure off me to try to do everything. I can pick my spots, and Amar’e can pick his spots. He is a guy who can get everybody involved. I don’t have to do too much ball-handling. Right now, my mind-set is to start working off the ball a lot more.
Kidd's presence has made it a lot easier for Anthony to move away for isolation ball, and it's the trust in his ability and knowledge of the game that has done this. Here, Anthony reiterates that same point:
Melo has never been known as a particularly great assist man, but when you look at the tape from last season, you can see there are a few players he always looks to pass to.
Tyson Chandler appears to be Anthony's favorite option, as his height allows for him to be found for easy buckets when the help defense comes over to Anthony.
Even when the play slows down, Melo has a knack for finding Chandler around the basket, and the following video should be something Knicks fans are used to seeing a lot of after last season:
Despite his poor history on the defensive end, Anthony has always had the talent to be a good defender, and it's being shown with his play on D so far this season.
It looks like all he needed was some motivation, and the Knicks got him just that with veteran players and coaches to keep him in check.
Though he's not a huge part of the team, Rasheed Wallace is one such player who has played a big role in getting Melo to step up on defense.
As a former NBA champion and an elite defender, Sheed is clearly a player Anthony trusts to give him good advice on what to do on that end of the floor,
When Wallace is on the sidelines barking out instructions, as he often does, you can bet Anthony is making note of what he has to say:
All of this just goes to show what a difference being surrounded with players you trust can make for a player like Melo. Not only is he now being held accountable by his head coach but by his fellow players as well, and it's allowing him to develop into a real leader.
Melo feeds off of the knowledge and great example these players set, and it's visible in the way he's now playing. He's showing the extra effort and a lot of teamwork, playing a central role in what is a tight-knit and trusting squad in New York.
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