The New York Knicks have the best offense in the NBA right now, scoring 111.5 points per 100 possessions — they are shooting the ball well and turning it over on fewer possessions than any other team in the Association.
And they are doing it all with Carmelo Anthony playing the four. The power forward spot. What had been Amare Stoudemire’s spot.
So what happens when Stoudemire returns in December from knee surgery and pushes ‘Melo out to the wing again? One idea — one coach Mike Woodson doesn’t seem to like — is to bring Stoudemire off the bench. And he is good with that, reports ESPNNewYork.com.
“All he cares about right now is helping the team and winning,” said one source, who has been around Stoudemire regularly in recent weeks. “He’d be fine with coming off the bench if that’s what they want….
“He just wants to win,” the source says. “He sees how well they’re playing and just wants to help. He’ll be fine with whatever they want to do.”
My guess is that Woodson will eventually bend to this logic and will bring Stoudemire off the bench.
But this really doesn’t solve the problem — Anthony and Stoudemire are going to have to share the court at some point. The Spurs had success bringing Manu Ginobili off the bench but come the fourth quarter Ginobili was out there on the court with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
If the Knicks are going to be true title contenders they have to find a way to play well when Stoudemire, Anthony and Tyson Chandler are all on the court together. Bringing Stoudemire off the bench is a way to avoid dealing with the problem in the first quarter, but the fourth quarter question is still there. And still has to be answered.
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.