One of the things that worked very well for the New York Knicks last season was moving Carmelo Anthony to the power forward position. With the arrival of Andrea Bargnani, Anthony is pretty sure that it means moving back to small forward, which he doesn’t really mind.
Anthony led the league in scoring last season, averaging 28.7 points per game, spending the majority of his playing time at the power forward position, mostly because Amare Stoudemire was injured and became a sixth man upon his return.
I’m pretty sure me being around Woody these last couple years, I know his mindset. And I know if it’s not going right, then I know he’s going to throw me back at power forward to try to make some adjustments. So my mindset is just to be prepared for that. If that time comes, when that time comes, it’s not going to be any different; I just slide right back over. I’m not too concerned about that.
Anthony spent 48% of the Knicks’ possessions last season as a power forward, by far the highest number of his career. It changed the way he attacked the basket, posting up more than ever before. He posted up on 20.8% of his shots, and his usage ratio was the highest in the NBA at 35.6%.
The problem with Anthony and the Knicks in general is that it’s always been about scoring for him, nothing else. As he did score 28.7 points per game last season and won the NBA’s scoring title, he didn’t make any improvements in different aspects. He isn’t a better passer or more willing one than before despite the whole ‘Anthony has changed’ hype early last season. He’s not a better or more focused and motivated defender. Some things are too hard to change in a natural-born scorer entering his 11th NBA season.
In the playoffs, his predictability hurt the Knicks quite bad, especially against a quality defense like the Pacers, with Paul George giving Anthony a very hard time. Anthony missed more field goal shots per game (15.3) than any other Knicks player took during the postseason. With Amare Stoudemire hopefully a bit healthier and Andrea Bargnani about to play a major role at both Power forward and sometimes center, we might see a bit more of the old Anthony in terms of both positioning and and his shot selection.
There are lineups, with Metta World Peace next to Anthony, or with Bargnani playing center and Stoudemire off the court, that Anthony will still be at power forward, which just might be the best position for him. If Bargnani also proves to be a defensive liability as everyone seems to tell the Knicks he is, maybe Carmelo will go back to Power Forward and be used in the position in a similar portion to last season.