The word “reflective” was used to describe Carmelo Anthony after Saturday night’s loss to the Nuggets. He wasn’t just pressing ahead, spitting out “both teams played hard” and ignoring the realities of where the Knick are at. He was honest about the struggles, and even if the comments come with a slight dose of bitterness, Anthony isn’t looking at the team or the coaching or the defense for why the Knicks are losing. He’s staring in the mirror.
From the New York Times:
“I’ve been in situations like this before, when shots don’t go in,” said Anthony, who is 35 for 105 over the last four games. “Maybe I need to not take so many shots. I don’t know. That’s just a bunch of stuff that goes through my mind. Just coming down, taking less shots, just figuring out ways, how to make other guys better. Should I pass it more?”
He added: “Maybe I should take the blame for the games we’ve been losing, the offensive struggles. The coaches do run the offense through me. I’ll take it. I’ll take that blame.”
Yes, you will. But at least he’s willing to say that, at least he’s open to the possibility. Anthony also related the possibility that the problem was physical, not strategic.
“Maybe it is time to reevaluate everything, reevaluate my body, sit with the trainers, see what is going on,’’ Anthony said. “I am hard-headed at times.’’
The thing is, Anthony’s off in his thinking. This isn’t a binary issue. It’s not “Carmelo shoots/Carmelo doesn’t shoot.” Anthony can take 40 shots a game and the Knicks can be successful, but only if those shots are coming off of creating matchup problems, or off the catch-and-shoot, or in the pick and roll. As it stands, Anthony is receiving the ball, facing up, and either lifting and firing over his opponent, or driving into and past one, two, three opponents to get to the rim. And sometimes it works! That’s what’s amazing about Anthony! He can get those shots to fall.
But you can’t do it consistently. If Anthony’s hurt, sure, he should take a seat for a while. The shortened schedule is only making injuries worse this season. But if he’s healthy, and wondering how to get on track, it’s not about shooting or not shooting. It’s about good shots vs. bad. It’s about working in the flow of an offense vs. going hero-mode. Carmelo Anthony is a singular offensive talent. But if he’s not used correctly, not only does he hurt himself, but the rest of the team by removing them from the flow.
Oh, and by the way, those that are booing Melo? Uh, that’s not really getting to him, according to him.
“I’m not too concerned about that,” he said, vowing that he will fulfill the grand expectations that came with the trade.
“Things will still be great,” he said. “I’m not down, I’m not regretting anything. I’m not regretting the trade. I’m here. You want to boo me for missing shots, boo me.”
Good thing Melo doesn’t mind. Because unless Mike D’Antoni wrangles the offense, that’s probably not going to stop.