Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich talked about it recently — he is harder on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili than other guys on the team. He knows if he calls out his stars in practice or film sessions, it sends a message and the other players fall in line.
That’s not how things typically go in the NBA’s star system. Elite players get deference. Now Carmelo Anthony wants Derek Fisher and the Knicks coaching staff to act more like the Spurs’ and not shy away from calling him out, he told Ian Begley at ESPN.
“Call it out in the film session so everybody can see that and hear that. By them doing that, it kind of forces me to be at the top level of my game on both ends of the court,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ 94-88 preseason victory over the Sixers on Monday. “I think it brings the best out of me and if you bring the best out of me, I think it will bring the best out of everyone on the team.”
If they’re going to call him out every time ‘Melo misses a defensive assignment or stops the ball on offense, it could lead to some long film sessions for the Knicks.
Easy jokes aside, this is what Knicks’ fans should want their star player to say — lead by example. Fisher has publicly praised Anthony’s efforts on both ends of the court through the preseason, and Anthony has said he feels healthy (which is a big start after he missed half the season with a knee injury last season). But praising in public and being harder on him in private is not a bad way to go.
It’s been a pretty good preseason for New York; now we’ll see if they can carry that over once the games matter.