When the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from the Nuggets, it was because the team needed more star power and more potent options on offense. The deal was done so that the team could fill a void that many felt was holding them back.
Though acclimating their new stars into the offense is still a work in progress, the Knicks are beginning to see positive results, with Carmelo Anthony leading the team to back-to-back victories with consecutive 39-point performances.
Satisfying such a need for another star has given the Knicks the potential to elevate themselves to the next level. Little did they know that, when satisfying that same need, they would also be filling another huge void with a little-known player.
For parts of the last two (perhaps even longer) seasons, the Knicks have lacked a reliable backup point guard. Of course, there's sophomore guard Toney Douglas, but he's much more of a shooter than anything else.
The team needed an extended range of court vision, defensive smarts, experience and, not to mention, some serious grit from a point guard off the bench—somebody who could change the direction of a game in a spur of the moment by harassing the opponent's playmaker.
For many Knicks fans, the name that rings a bell when thinking about these characteristics is Chris Childs, who played parts of five seasons with the team from 1996 to 2001. While Childs may be most remembered for his brawl with a young Kobe Bryant, he was a key member of a Knicks squad that went deep into the playoffs many times during his tenure.
While his numbers were never too flashy, Childs was a leader, an effective passer and an even more aggressive defender at all times. Doing all the little things while giving his team a boost was what made him so valuable.
That is also exactly what made rookie Landry Fields incredibly valuable to this year's Knicks squad earlier in the season, so much so that he remained a New York Knick, even when many of his teammates were sent to the Nuggets in exchange for Anthony and company.
As fate would have it, it's another "Anthony" who came from Denver that is seeing his stock rise from doing all the little things for the Knicks: Anthony Carter, who is averaging nearly four points and one steal through his first month in orange and blue.
Again, it's not always about the numbers, but the impact you make on the court.
In addition to praising Carter's huge heart and work ethic, coach Mike D'Antoni told ESPN New York, "He finds a way to get it done. And that's something when you're around him, you become more confident with him. And I'm glad I started playing him, because he's huge. You can put him on different guys and he does a great job defensively. So he's been big."
Ironically enough, Carter should be all too familiar with the player the Knicks perhaps need him to be, having played against (and even guarded) Childs during many of the Knicks-Heat deep playoff battles. A 12-year NBA player, Carter has been around the block once or twice—long enough to know what it takes to win and how he can contribute to his team.
Having played in 35 playoffs games dating back to the 1999-00 season, Carter has experience that the Knicks will look to when (and if) they make the playoffs for the first time in nearly seven years. He most recently displayed the type of impact he can have on a game, dishing out five assists during a comeback victory in an intense game against the Nets on Wednesday night.
For a somewhat little-known player, Anthony Carter has been doing all the little things to stay successful.
Lucky for him, those are exactly the types of things Knicks have been looking for.
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