Knicks fans, do you realize with ‘Melo you get a lot of contested jumpers?

2 Comments

Knicks fans are dreaming of Carmelo Anthony like children at Christmas — a top forward to put along side Amar’e Stoudemire and form two-thirds of the dynasty needed to beat the Heat and bring Willis Reed-like glory back to Madison Square Garden.

Except, can Anthony really do that?

No doubt he can put points up on the board, but is he elite as everyone thinks? Can he be that guy in New York? There are plenty of people who say no. He puts plenty of points on the board but he’s not efficient doing it (his shooting percentage hangs about the league average, whether you use traditional or advanced version of the stat). He scores a lot, but he takes a lot of shots to do it. More in the Iverson sense than the Kevin Durant sense.

But why is that? Why is ‘Melo not on the same level with Kobe and LeBron, the one Kevin Durant is leapfrogging Anthony to get to?

Because he takes too many contested shots.

That is the conclusion of Jeremy at Roundball Mining Company, who went deep into the tape (via Synergy Sports), charting shots for Carmelo, LeBron, Durant, Dwyane Wade, Kobe and even Kevin Martin. (You really need to go read the entire post, it is fantastic.)

What he found is that only 39 percent of ‘Melo’s shots are open (defender at least an arms length away), lowest of all the big names looked at. Kobe was at 42.3 percent (next lowest) while LeBron saw 53.9 percent of his shots with no hand in his face. Martin was at 69 percent.

As you might expect, players shot well on those open looks, with Anthony hitting 62.3 percent of his.

But that also means that 61 percent of Anthony’s shots were contested, and on those he shot just 31.5 percent. For comparison, Kobe hit 38 percent of his.

The lesson here is that Anthony does not fear shooting under duress, even though he’s not efficient at it. We can argue if that is Anthony or the system (although do you think George Karl tells him to do that or to move the ball?), but the fact remains one thing that holds him back from the next level is he shoots too many contested jumpers. He shoots with a hand in his face more than his contemporaries, and he doesn’t hit as many of them (well, Martin and Wade shot worse when contested, but still).

In a Mike D’Antoni system would that be different? The Nuggets certainly run, and Chauncey Billiups is better at getting the ball to the open men than Raymond Felton. Yet Anthony is still shooting the contested shots.

Until that changes — and his defense improves — he will be good but not one of the games two or three best. And that may not be good enough in New York.

Report: Suns to waive Austin Rivers, who becomes unrestricted free agent

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Phoenix Suns need a ball handling guard to go next to Devin Booker, so when they picked up Austin Rivers as part of the Trevor Ariza trade with Washington it made some sense. Rivers is a below replacement level NBA player (who has been serviceable the past couple of seasons), but that’s an upgrade over what the Suns had.

Except Rivers didn’t want to be part of the rebuild in Phoenix. In an unusual and unexpected move, the Suns have agreed to waive him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It’s an odd move on a few levels. Why didn’t Rivers want to stay in a place the ball would be in his hands more, giving himself a chance to build up his value before free agency next summer? Why didn’t the Suns first try to shop him around and offer to take on another team’s bad/dead contract if they got a pick or other asset? (Rivers can’t be packaged with another player in a trade but he can be moved straight up.)

Finally, how much demand is there among good teams for Rivers, even on a minimum contract?

Rivers, the son of Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers, is in his seventh NBA season. Rivers is averaging 7.2 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting this season.

It’s an odd move. Without Rivers Suns will keep leaning on rookie De'Anthony Melton as a potential future backcourt mate with Booker and hope he develops into something.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn shoves Russell Westbrook, scuffle breaks out (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Russell Westbrook has a way of getting under an opponent’s skin.

Monday night it was the Bulls’ Kris Dunn‘s turn.

While moving over in position on the strong side, Westbrook and Dunn made contact, and after the whistle blew for a foul (with the ball handler), Westbrook made a grand gesture of pushing Dunn off him. Dunn responded with an outsized shove. And then it was on.

There’s more stuff to break down here than the Zapruder film.

• Jeremi Grant of the Thunder came in and tried to go at Dunn a little, in front of Westbrook (protect the star).

Bobby Portis tried to slide Grant out of the way, but…

Robin Lopez came in and went at Grant getting in his face, so Grant basically throws Lopez into the first row.

• Which just made Lopez even madder, leading to a meme-worthy angry face.

• Bulls’ coach Jim Boylen gets Grant in a headlock and pulls him out of the situation.

Steven Adams calmly makes sure Portis is out of the picture, then walks back over to Lopez and then Adams and Lopez get separated.

• In the end, the officials handed out for technicals: Westbrook, Dunn, Grant, and Lopez.

A few minutes later, Lopez blocked a Grant shot, decided to taunt him, and that got Lopez a second technical and he was tossed (Lopez is a veteran, he has to know the officials are going to call everything tight at that point). Watch Adams pat Lopez on the back as the Bulls’ big man makes the walk to the locker room.

James Harden scores 47, including sinking dagger into Jazz (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Utah and Houston met in a battle of the disappointing early season Western teams — predicted by most to finish 2/3 in the West, they came into the night 10th and 13th — and in the tight West these kinds of games matter.

So James Harden turned it up a notch.

The reigning MVP looked every bit that guys scoring 47 points and adding six rebounds, five assists, and five steals in what was a Houston win, 102-97. It was Harden that sank the dagger into Utah.

That’s four wins in a row for Houston as they try to climb out of the hole they dug themselves early this season.

Taj Gibson helps defend drive with one shoe on, one shoe in his hand (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

In the first quarter Monday night, Timberwolves veteran Taj Gibson was working in the post on the Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica, Gibson got the bucket but lost his shoe.

He picked it up, ran to the other end with one shoe in hand, and then defended a Bjelica drive well enough that Karl-Anthony Towns would come over and get the block on the play.

Somehow, Tom Thibodeau is going to get credit for this new defensive style.