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Bill Walton: “Carmelo does not have what it takes to be the great player”


Bill Walton and top basketball statistician agree on something. Excuse me for a minute while I relocate myself to my underground bunker.

New York Knicks fans are still living in the Carmelo Anthony fantasy land, picturing him and Amare Stoudemire as two-thirds of the powerhouse trio they need to return to glory in the East.

Walton was on ESPN 1050 in New York and was asked about pairing Anthony and Stoudemire, He’s not a fan, as you can hear in this podcast clip.

Carmelo, to me, does not have what it takes to be the great player. He puts up nice numbers, he makes a great salary, the media, publicity all likes him, but does he win the games? Does he make the squad better? Does he pull guys together?

It hasn’t happened in Denver at all. I’m a big Amare Stoudemire fan, I will hold my tongue on Carmelo.

That’s holding your tongue?

Remember that Tom Haberstroh — a stats guru that works for ESPN as well as at Hoopdata — wrote a column saying Anthony is not an efficient enough player right now to be elite. Another report said the reason he is not efficient is he takes too many contested jumpers and that hurts his efficiency. He has played with top players before — Chauncey Billups right now for one — and that pattern hasn’t changed.

So no matter how you get there — statistics or whatever it is that is rattling around in Walton’s head — there are a lot of questions to answer about how good a fit Anthony really is in New York. Not that it would stop Knicks fans from pulling the trigger on a deal.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.