The Skills competition has been a part of NBA All-Star weekend, but it’s still not entirely sure what it actually measures. Each player gets through the dribble course in about the same amount of time, and there’s only one mid-range jump shot, so most of the competition is decided by each player’s ability to pass the ball through a relatively small hole.
Since court vision is far more important than the ability to actually make physical passes, and most players can catch passes that are thrown several inches off target, the skills competition doesn’t seem to be a particularly accurate representation of how skilled these players are, but it’s the best thing we have at this time.
In any case, Steph Curry was the winner on Saturday. The second-year Golden State guard got into the finals with a time of 34.1 seconds, and dominated Russell Westbrook in the finals when he missed only one pass and no jump shots en route to a blistering final time of 28.2 seconds. Curry finished his first run with an emphatic dunk, and softly set the ball through the hoop at the end of his finals run. We all knew Curry was one of the most skilled players in the NBA — now we have proof. Or something.
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.
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.