The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.
But I don’t think the scheme of Knicks coach Phil Jackson Derek Fisher will have the largest effect on Melo.
That honor would go to New York’s new point guard, Jose Calderon.
Calderon is a pinpoint passer, careful ball-handler and sweet shooter. If you were designing the ideal complement to Melo offensively, he’d look something like Calderon.
Melo has been criticized for being selfish – and that was before he led the NBA with a career-high 35.6 usage percentage in 2012-13. Last year, Melo’s usage fell settled in at an above-career-average 32.4, which ranked fourth in the league.
To some degree, those numbers are unavoidable. Melo is a better scorer than passer. He works well in isolation, particularly in the post. This is just who he is.
But don’t completely blame Melo for the ball stopping. In New York, his point guards have been Raymond Felton, Jeremy Lin and an over-the-hill Chauncey Billups. That’s asking him to do to much.
But Calderon can change all that.
Calderon-Melo pick-and-rolls should create high-value looks within the flow of the offense. Calderon can throw quality entry passes to Melo. And Calderon is a strong spot-up shooter, making it more difficult for opponents to double Melo inside.
As the Knicks’ point guards have gotten worse while he has been in New York, Melo has gotten better. He’s expanded his offensive game, becoming capable of scoring efficiently in a variety of ways.
Now, he can pair those skills with a legitimately good offensive point guard whose style fits his. This is a good match, one that makes one of the NBA’s best scorers even better.
Just don’t think about how these two pair defensively.