They Call Me Melo Yellow

Posted: January 25, 2012 by mzyohai in Knicks, NBA, Opinion
Tags: , ,

Nick: For all his tongue-showing, finger-wagging, three-dropping, trade-forcing ways, Carmelo Anthony still appears to have a conscience that makes him feel remorseful, contemplative, and doubtful. What?

In his first meeting against his former team (and apparently the first time he’s spoken to former coach George Karl) since last season’s blockbuster trade, Anthony came up short as the Knicks lost in double overtime to the Denver Nuggets. With his team’s recent failure on his mind (not to mention Danilo Gallinari going off for 37 points to help the Nuggets to the third best record in the NBA since the trade), Melo engaged in some serious self-doubt in front of reporters, questioning whether or not he was taking too many shots on the floor.

To quote the man himself, “Maybe I need to not take so many shots. I don’t know. There’s just a bunch of stuff that goes through my mind. I’m just [trying to figure] out ways to make other guys better. Should I pass it more?”

So Mr. Knick (oh the irony! You know, since I’m Nick? You’re right, let’s move on). Is Anthony actually taking too many shots (he jacked up 30 in the loss to the Nuggets), or is Melo just missing too many of them (he only sank 10)?

Mike: Fact: the Knicks are a sub-.500 team since the Melo trade. Whatever the problem with Melo’s performance, there is something fundamentally screwed with the Knicks if they are not winning more games than they are losing with this star-studded line up.

The problem isn’t as simple as Melo taking too many shots or missing too many of them. It is more problematic that Melo runs the offense about 25% of the time. When Melo brings the ball up the court and is forced to keep the tempo of the game, spot open players, run plays, and create shots, the offense stagnates; he’s a scorer, not a creator. Anthony cannot create offensive opportunities on his own running the point, and without a true point guard (sorry, Toney Douglas), the entire Knicks offense is unable to separate from defenders and create open shots.

What does Melo need to do in order to help the Knicks start winning? He knocked down 33 points against the Orlando Magic, but the Knicks lost a big one at home. He also dominated the Bucks to the tune of 35 points, but the Knicks lost that one by almost 15 points. Against the Bobcats on the road Tuesday night, Melo scored 1 point. The Knicks won.

It has nothing to do with Melo. There’s no ringleader for the circus Knicks offense.

Nick: I’m of the opinion that, yes, Melo is taking too many shots. I recognize he has a pretty pathetic supporting cast, but this is the NBA after all, and it doesn’t matter who your teammates are (or shouldn’t matter); if they’re open, you have to find them and they have to hit open shots. Contested jumpers just won’t cut it, and especially contested three-pointers. In losses to Denver, Milwaukee, and Orlando, Anthony attempted at least 6 shots from behind the arc. That’s way too many for a small forward who can essentially get anywhere on the floor at will, especially when he’s getting to the line 6, 13, and 16 times in each of those games.

In those two games where he went for 30+, he needed 26 and 27 shots to reach that many points. He just can’t afford to hoist that many jumpers when he’s being so inefficient. Melo may have only scored a single point on Tuesday, but he also only took 7 shots from the field in a 33 point win. In an unrelated story, the Knicks were playing the Bobcats.

It may be that he’s being forced into this limbo role of the “point forward” with Baron Davis still in street clothes, but when you’re one of two superstars on a team, it doesn’t matter what role you have to play. You have to find a way to get it done. He may not be the point guard, but he is the ringleader of that offense.

Sorry, Mike, but I have to say that this one’s on Melo.

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