He only played 23 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers, and New York was still able to walk away with the win. According to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Melo is indeed out against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday and could miss more time, but if the following Knicks stay hot, they’ll survive their short stint without him.
3. Rasheed Wallace
Sheed’s minutes will increase at power forward in Melo’s absence, and believe it or not, he could blow up. He’s currently the seventh-leading scorer on the team, averaging 7.2 points in just 14.6 minutes of action.
Claim your prize if you called that one.
2. J.R. Smith
Smith is capable of dropping 20 points any given night, but he’s only done so four times this season, and three of those instances came in the first five games. New York may be able to knock off the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets without Smith exploding, but if Anthony is still out against the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls, the Knicks need more than his typical 14.0 points per game.
Of course, Melo always has one of if not the highest usage percentages in the NBA. Smith is more effective with the ball in his hands than without. According to 82games.com, only 39 percent of his field goals have been assisted this season, which is actually a lower rather than that of Anthony, at 43 percent.
In theory, Smith’s scoring should increase notably, because without Melo, he should have the ball in his hands more often.
1. Raymond Felton
I could’ve sworn it was Mike D’Antoni’s offense that allowed Felton to find success back in 2010, but apparently it’s just something about New York.
Felton had the worst season of his career on the Portland Trail Blazers, but he’s now back to being a productive point guard, averaging 15.9 points and 6.8 assists per game. He’s averaging 18.7 points per game in November, which includes 27-point efforts against the Bulls and Miami Heat.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.