Every week at Turn On The Knicks our staff will debate an issue of the week surrounding the team here in Roundtable Format. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter, along with follow the site right here. Let us know if you agree/disagree.
What do you expect from Carmelo Anthony this season?
Joe Caporoso - It is hard to expect Anthony to top his production last season, which was arguably the best of his career. I’d look for comparable numbers with potentially a slight dip across the board on total offensive output but hopefully a slight bump in overall efficiency. Anthony is going to be the focus of a season-long free agency discussion that will be exacerbated during times he struggles. He will need to ignore the distractions and hopefully embrace an eventual long term commitment to the Knicks. I’d look for Anthony shouldering the majority of the load for the Knicks in the playoffs yet again and for him to remain the center of a debate among Knicks fans and analysts, with one side supporting his effort and the other side saying he needs to do more.
Chris Celletti - By most accounts, last year was Carmelo Anthony’s “career year”, to date. He won the NBA’s scoring title, posted career bests in PER, true shooting percentage and usage rate. He scored, a lot, but did so with a modicum of efficiency. His offense also translated into wins; while the Knicks didn’t advance as far in the playoffs as they’d hoped, they won 54 games largely on the back of Anthony’s spectacular year. He’s squarely in his prime (though probably not for too much longer), but is it reasonable to expect a slight drop off from last season? In terms of volume scoring, in my mind, yes. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with Anthony dropping to 24 or 25 points a night if a) he does so efficiently and b) others on the team bring some offense on a consistent basis. People are going to continue to call for Anthony to “get others involved” and “play defense” and other things of the sort, but Anthony is who he is at this point in his career. What we can hope for from Anthony is that he picks up where he left off last regular season in terms of efficiency. If he approaches the heights he was at last season, the Knicks should be a contender in the East.
Kevin Smith - I have absolutely no concerns about Carmelo Anthony on the court. I’m not sure if he’s going to lead the league in scoring again, but that’s more of a testament to the young talent in the league than it is a knock on the defending scoring champ. Melo will continue to be a consistent offensive force and will lead the Knicks on that end of the court.
My biggest concern about him is what’s going to happen off the court. No, I don’t think he’ll be ditching New York to go play for a rebuilding Lakers squad, but it’s gong to be tough for him to be mentally focused when he’s constantly being grilled about free agency shenanigans. We’ve seen how players like Dwight Howard, LeBron James, and even Melo himself have damaged their reputations in their walk year, and while there really isn’t any reason for Anthony to leave, I’m sure he’ll string us all along until the ink hits the paper on his new extension. Melo loves to bask in his celebrity status, so I expect he won’t give us a sure answer until next summer. Still, he’s simply too talented to be taken off his game. As long as Anthony is healthy and on the floor, he’s going to produce big time, once again.
Aaron Jacobs - I’ll be honest here, I’m concerned about Carmelo Anthony’s longevity in the league after last season. Especially if Mike Woodson keeps playing him out of position. It’s going to lead to an increase in nagging injuries throughout his career, granted I know he’s never had a serious injury of any type. I hope the contract situation doesn’t lead to a major headache and distraction for the Knicks all season, because the Knicks are going to have a tough task in front of them keeping up with the Bulls, Nets, Pacers and the Heat.
Another year with J.R. Smith, Tyson Chander, Iman Shumpert, Kenyon Martin, Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton will only lead to more continuity on the court. Sprinkle in new comers like Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, and Beno Udrih…and you will have better spacing for ‘Melo on the court. I don’t expect Anthony to lead the league in scoring again, especially with Durant only getting better, but I do expect another 23-25 points, 5-7 rebounds, 1-3 assists per game. He is still an average defender, but since he’s become a Knick he is putting up a valiant defensive effort. I hope this year ‘Melo learns to trust his teammates more, because isolation alone won’t bring a title to the big apple.
Tim Murray - Carmelo Anthony won the scoring title last season and is definitely in a strong position to repeat that honor. Unfortunately for the team and its fans there are some concerns surfacing this season that were not as relevant last season. Number one being can Melo stay mentally focused over the course of the NBA’s rigorous 82-game schedule with enough left to make a playoff run in an incredibly tough and competitive Eastern Conference. He will be constantly questioned during the season as to his intentions during his upcoming free agency and as the season progresses it will only continue to get worse.
Another issue that needs to be addressed that is make-or-break for the Knicks season is whether Melo will be able to “let go” more often and trust his teammates on the offensive end. Clearly he is still the greatest offensive weapon on the team but overall they are a stronger offensive team than they were last season and he has to let some of the other players step up in order to add layers to the team’s scoring prowess. As good as Melo is at scoring, (the best in the league last season) it will simply not be enough for the offense to exclusively go through him especially with the number of teams fighting for who will likely face the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. I do expect however that if the team can step up early in the season it will start them off on the right foot because when the three-point shooting was at its best last season, Melo happily kicked the ball out from the low-post when the situation called for it.