Carmelo Antony wants more pick-and-roll chances

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Last season, Carmelo Anthony got 10.6 percent of his shots as the pick-and-roll ball handler and it was one of his most effective weapons (he shot 47.9 percent and scored an impressive 1.07 points per possession). Still that was less shot attempts than he got through isolation (27.1 percent), post ups (20.8 percent) and even as a spot-up shooter (14.6 percent).

That 10.6 percent was up slightly from the 7.9 percent the year before, and if you go back it was more than the 7.7 percent of chances he got on the P&R his last season in Denver. (All stats via Synergy Sports).

But Anthony wants more.

That’s what he told Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com.

“I want to continue doing that and figuring that part out, but that comes along with the territory and the game situation,” he said. “It’s all about just trying to tighten up those screws that you already have, and just having fun with it.”

He should get more chances because maybe with it he will drive and attack more — Anthony is far more efficient when he attacks compared to when he settles and pulls up for a jumper.

With Tyson Chandler on the roster the Knicks have one of the better pick-setting bigs in the game (and he can finish on the roll if you get him the rock). Having Chandler out setting picks clears the lane for drives. The Knicks need to take advantage of this with ‘Melo, and maybe even run some 4/3 pick-and-rolls with Metta World Peace setting the screen (he can do that well and is a threat to pop out to the arc). You can tinker with that in the preseason.

If it means fewer isolation sets and more players moving and involved, if it means more attacking Carmelo, the Knicks should do it. They need to have guys knock down shots to make the spacing work around it, but anything they can do that makes the offense more efficient they should do. Having both Raymond Felton and ‘Melo effective at the pick-and-roll is just another weapon Mike Woodson should exploit.

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

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The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

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The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.

O.J. Mayo says abusing prescription painkillers triggered NBA ban

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Last year, O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA for at least two years due to a drug violation. Aside from stating a plan to come back, Mayo didn’t say much publicly.

Until now.

Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

He acknowledged smoking marijuana and abusing a prescription pain medication that triggered his two-year ban because it is on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list. (He emphatically denied testing positive for hard drugs like cocaine.)

Mayo also concluded that he had been “overwhelmed” by a string of difficult life events: his father, high school basketball star Kenny Ziegler, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine, his brother was placed in juvenile lock-up, a close friend went to jail, and another was killed. “I was bred to play basketball and I thought I could balance everything,” he said. “I couldn’t.”

That’s part of an interesting feature on Mayo, who’s training for his come back. Golliver’s story makes it easy to pull for Mayo.

But the guard will be 30 when he’s eligible to apply for reinstatement, and he played lousily in his last three seasons with the Bucks.

Hopefully, Mayo has and keeps his personal life in order. But returning to the NBA will be an uphill battle.

James Harden throws alley-oop to Chris Paul, pair puts on show at Houston charity event

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What chemistry problem?

There are legitimate questions about how Chris Paul and James Harden will share the backcourt and ball with the Rockets, but none of those were on display on Sunday. That’s when CP3 joined his new teammate in Harden’s charity game (raising money for Harden’s charity, which helps children from single-family homes get a higher education), a kind of pro-am with some names thrown in to draw a crowd.

Harden and CP3 put on a show for the fans.

This is a charity event, not every team is going to defend like this or the Phoenix Suns. It’s going to be harder when the games matter.

But the Rockets are going to be entertaining to watch this season. No doubt.