The New York Knicks were obviously craving star power and a more potent offensive player when they finally acquired Carmelo Anthony after much negotiation with the Denver Nuggets.
It’s no question that Anthony’s acquisition was the biggest trade the Knicks have made in the last decade. There’s no doubt Anthony is already being celebrated as the city’s favorite son—a homegrown hero.
While he’s sure to play a big role in New York, getting acclimated to the Knicks’ offense may take some time as he prepares to step into such a role.
Though the Knicks won Anthony’s debut with an electrifying victory over the Bucks at MSG and Anthony poured in 27 points, he only shot 10-for-25 from the field. Many others struggled to find their shooting touch on the Knicks as well, as the team clearly needed time to practice.
With a couple days of preparation under their belts, the Knicks will take on the Cavaliers, whom they have already suffered an embarrassing loss to this season.
When Anthony steps onto the court with his new team Friday night, just how will he fit into its offense?
Everyone knows Anthony will find a way to score, but just how he gets his points remains to be seen. He’s not quite the three-point shooter that Danilo Gallinari is or Wilson Chandler was coming to be, so the Knicks will have to make adjustments in their offensive sets.
Anthony stands to play a more physical role for the now size-deprived Knicks.
Having already begun to call for the ball in the post against the Bucks, Anthony could very well become a post player for his new team.
If the Knicks lost anything in the trade for Anthony, it was the little size they had—their physicality was already lacking.
Though Ronny Turiaf’s defensive presence is sure to balance out the starting lineup, there will be times when Turiaf is not on the court and Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire will have to shift to the power forward and center positions.
It is then that Anthony’s offense will come alive.
Against the Bucks, Anthony displayed aggressiveness (something much-needed on this Knicks squad) as he evaded defenders to get inside for easy dunks that excited the pumped-up Garden crowd. The combination of quickness and his physical nature is what will help Anthony carry the Knicks with his offense.
Again, Anthony can hit the three-ball if need be—he hit 33 percent of his attempts as a Denver Nugget.
Having said that, it’s unlikely he’ll be planted at the three-point line like many Knicks forwards were before him.
The Knicks' offense thrives on the pick-and-roll, and it’s probable that the Knicks will go to Billups and Stoudemire in that regard. While Anthony may be relied upon as well, his post-up moves could further benefit the Knicks.
A 6’9" forward that averages over 7.5 rebounds per game, Anthony will be preferred in the low post with Stoudemire. While he may not have played such a physical role in Denver, D’Antoni’s offense will bring the most out of Anthony’s physicality, just as it previously brought the most out of Raymond Felton’s playmaking ability.
D’Antoni’s offense can bring out the best in players. Felton is not likely to see the same type of success in Denver as he did in New York, and Anthony will be seeing a different type of offensive success in New York as a cog in D’Antoni’s system.
On the defensive end, Anthony’s rebounding numbers could see an increase with the Knicks. After averaging nine rebounds earlier in the season, Anthony could see that statistic elevated to that level again, as the Knicks need a rebounding presence as well.
There’s no doubt that in Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks acquired one of the league’s best—a dominant scorer with a star persona, hungry for a big city like New York.
He will thrive as a New York Knick, but just how he goes about scoring may surprise fans familiar with his game.
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