Position Grade: A
Of the things that New York has to worry about this season, Carmelo Anthony is not one of them.
Much will be made of the Knicks star moving back down to the small forward spot after a full season of dominating power forwards. Under different circumstances, this position switch would be detrimental to New York. But not under these circumstances.
The reason for Anthony's prior relative struggles at the 3 while playing next to Amar'e Stoudemire was a battle for spacing. Stoudemire, especially when his perimeter game is as rusty as it has been lately, operates from the same region as Anthony. With Bargnani at the 4 slot, however, this issue shouldn't be something to worry about.
Of Bargnani's 425 shot attempts last season, 356 were jump shots. Only 109 of those were taken from within 10 feet. In theory, he should assume the court position that a traditional small forward would, leaving the inside available for Anthony to work.
Anthony's playoff performance wasn't as stellar as he would have hoped, but after a full offseason of rehabbing a shoulder injury suffered late in the regular season, the ailment should be a thing of the past.
On defense, it'll be interesting to see how 'Melo performs against opposing small forwards. Last season, against bigger, stationary post players, Anthony excelled. Synergy Sports had him as one of the best post defenders in the league.
Previously in his career, when lined up against athletic small forwards, Anthony had struggled chasing players around the perimeter and fighting through screens. His defensive fortune was usually related directly to the amount of effort exerted nightly.
That should be the only unknown in regard to Anthony this season: his effort on defense. Against bigger players like David West in the playoffs, he could primarily confine himself to the paint and rely on brute force to shut down opponents.
That won't be the case at small forward, and the Knicks will need his attention and dedication on the defensive end while he's logging small forward minutes.
When 'Melo will be spending time away from the 3—whether it be at power forward or on the bench—Metta World Peace will make for a perfect role player.
He can provide defense along the perimeter and the ability to contain both forward positions. He can also knock down threes from the corner, which is usually a Woodson wing's primary duty.