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Knicks fans, do you realize with ‘Melo you get a lot of contested jumpers?


Knicks fans are dreaming of Carmelo Anthony like children at Christmas — a top forward to put along side Amar’e Stoudemire and form two-thirds of the dynasty needed to beat the Heat and bring Willis Reed-like glory back to Madison Square Garden.

Except, can Anthony really do that?

No doubt he can put points up on the board, but is he elite as everyone thinks? Can he be that guy in New York? There are plenty of people who say no. He puts plenty of points on the board but he’s not efficient doing it (his shooting percentage hangs about the league average, whether you use traditional or advanced version of the stat). He scores a lot, but he takes a lot of shots to do it. More in the Iverson sense than the Kevin Durant sense.

But why is that? Why is ‘Melo not on the same level with Kobe and LeBron, the one Kevin Durant is leapfrogging Anthony to get to?

Because he takes too many contested shots.

That is the conclusion of Jeremy at Roundball Mining Company, who went deep into the tape (via Synergy Sports), charting shots for Carmelo, LeBron, Durant, Dwyane Wade, Kobe and even Kevin Martin. (You really need to go read the entire post, it is fantastic.)

What he found is that only 39 percent of ‘Melo’s shots are open (defender at least an arms length away), lowest of all the big names looked at. Kobe was at 42.3 percent (next lowest) while LeBron saw 53.9 percent of his shots with no hand in his face. Martin was at 69 percent.

As you might expect, players shot well on those open looks, with Anthony hitting 62.3 percent of his.

But that also means that 61 percent of Anthony’s shots were contested, and on those he shot just 31.5 percent. For comparison, Kobe hit 38 percent of his.

The lesson here is that Anthony does not fear shooting under duress, even though he’s not efficient at it. We can argue if that is Anthony or the system (although do you think George Karl tells him to do that or to move the ball?), but the fact remains one thing that holds him back from the next level is he shoots too many contested jumpers. He shoots with a hand in his face more than his contemporaries, and he doesn’t hit as many of them (well, Martin and Wade shot worse when contested, but still).

In a Mike D’Antoni system would that be different? The Nuggets certainly run, and Chauncey Billiups is better at getting the ball to the open men than Raymond Felton. Yet Anthony is still shooting the contested shots.

Until that changes — and his defense improves — he will be good but not one of the games two or three best. And that may not be good enough in New York.

LeBron James calls Cavs’ players’ only meeting after loss to Raptors

LeBron James
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Yes, the Cavaliers are 11-4 on the season and on top of the East. Yes, they are outscoring teams by 6.7 points per 100 possessions, which is fourth best in the NBA. They have the third best offense in the league. All that without their starting backcourt (Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert). There are reasons to be optimistic.

But the Cavaliers have a middle-of-the-pack defense and their efforts have been up and down. Wednesday night was a down, they lost on the road to Toronto, dropping the Cavs to 3-4 outside Quicken Loans Arena, with all those losses to teams in the East.

It was enough for LeBron James and James Jones to call a players-only meeting, reports Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

Following a 103-99 road loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers held a players-only meeting during which LeBron James and James Jones got on the team for its inconsistent play through the Cavs’ 11-4 start to the season, multiple sources told….

“It’s all mindset,” James said after the game, still visibly frustrated. “It comes from within. I’ve always had it; my upbringing had me like that. It’s either you got it or you don’t.”

When asked whether fatigue was a factor, James said, “No. It’s not an excuse.” When another reporter asked whether injuries were to blame, James repeated, “It’s not an excuse.”

Injuries and fatigue did play a role, this was a team without four regular rotation players and that puts more of a burden on everyone else. Players can’t look at it that way, but ijuries are a reality.

LeBron is trying to set a tone, one he learned in Miami and is now trying to instill in the Cavaliers. It’s about effort, it’s about attention to detail, it’s about building good habits over the course of a season so they can pay off in the playoffs. The Cavs are winning, they look clearly like the best team in the East once healthy, and yet LeBron rightfully isn’t convinced they could beat Golden State or San Antonio right now. The good news is they don’t have to beat them right now, but they need to beat them eventually. The building blocks for that are laid during the season. He wants that building to start going up.

But getting guys healthy would solve a lot of those problems.

Jason Kidd ejected; shoving match ensues between teams after Kings beat Bucks

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd is going to miss a game or three (and some dollars to go with it), and he could not be the only guy in trouble with the league after a tension-filled end to the Kings’ win over the Bucks Wednesday.

There wasn’t a ton of drama at the end of the contest itself. The Bucks played a “defense optional” game that led to 36 points for Rudy Gay and 13 dimes for Rajon Rondo, and the Kings won their first game this season without DeMarcus Cousins (back issue). That frustrated the Bucks to no end.

Jason Kidd expressed that frustration by slapping the ball out of referee Zach Zarba’s hands, a move that rightfully earned him an instant ejection.

You can be sure a suspension is coming for Kidd — the league can’t let that slide. This was not a Budenholzer incidental bump. After the game here is what Kidd had to say.

After Kidd had gone to the showers, there was a little jawing on the court between Cousins (in street clothes) and the Bucks’ O.J. Mayo. That spilled over after the final buzzer into the tunnel, where there was at the very least some jawing, maybe a little shoving, and a lot of security stepping in before anything serious happened.

Whatever happened in the tunnel is going to be a lot harder for NBA disciplinarian Kiki Vandeweghe (technically the vice-president of basketball operations for the NBA) to sort out. Who started what, and did it rise to the level it calls for a fine or more, is going to be tricky, especially since this was out of site of the arena cameras.

Cavaliers stand in middle of Raptors dancers’ routine (video)

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The Cavaliers were ready for their game against the Raptors tonight, and Toronto’s dance team wasn’t going to change that.

The last time I remember something like this happening, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen walked through the Warriors’ kid dancers. This video doesn’t show how the Cavaliers got to that point, but they might have the defense of being there first. Allen definitely didn’t have that.

Wizards score six fourth-quarter points in loss to Hornets

Cody Zeller, Ramon Sessions
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Gary Neal made a jumper with 10:12 remaining in tonight’s Wizards-Hornets game.

That was Washington’s last basket.

Jared Dudley made a pair of free throws on the Wizards next possession, and Neal added two more free throws with 23 seconds left.

And that was all the Wizards scoring in the quarter.

Washington, which entered the final period up seven, lost 101-87 after its 1-for-20 final-period shooting.

The six fourth-quarter points were the fewest by an NBA team in a quarter since Cavaliers scored six third-quarter points in a Jan. 26, 2014 loss to the Suns. Last time a team scored so few in a fourth quarter: Nov. 13, 2012, when the Raptors had five against the Pacers.

At least Neal’s late free throws spared the Wizards further shame. Nobody has scored four or fewer points in a quarter since the Warriors managed just two in a Feb. 8, 2004 loss to the Raptors.

As it stands, this is one of only 44 times in the shot clock era a team has scored so few points in a quarter.