Carmelo Anthony has always been an All-Star small forward, but in his year-plus in a New York Knicks uniform, Anthony has played his best basketball while playing the power forward spot, a place where many expect head coach Mike Woodson to utilize Anthony a little bit this season.
But if ‘Melo has his way, that won’t be the case.
Anthony expressed his feelings about playing the 4 to ESPN’s Ian Begley.
“Right now, we have guys in that position. We want to keep it like that,” Anthony said Monday when asked about playing more power forward this year. “I’d rather play my natural position then go down there and play the 4, the 5 and things that I don’t really want to do. So with the guys that we have now, I find that we’re definitely that much more effective.”
However if Anthony is serious when he talks about making sacrifices in order to win, playing power forward a bit more often should be a part of that.
Anthony creates matchup problems on the block, especially against slower big men. He’s a weapon at power forward and his numbers speak to that.
While filling in for an injured Amar’e Stoudemire in April, ‘Melo thrived, averaging 29.8 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting for the month, being named Player of the Month in the process.
Let’s look a bit deeper at how Anthony fares at the two positions.
In 13 games starting at power forward last season, Anthony averaged 30 points per 36 minutes on 50.5 percent shooting. The Knicks’ offensive rating with ‘Melo at power forward was 108.9.
In 42 games at small forward, he averaged 21.8 points per 36 minutes on 40.1 percent shooting and the Knicks’ offensive rating was 100.4.
He’s also better defensively at the 4 as he can guard slower guys on the block much better than he guards a quicker player on the perimeter.
Anthony wouldn’t be asked to play the 4 primarily, but it does make sense to use him there when Stoudemire is on the bench and using a guy like Ronnie Brewer at the 3 in order to both create a mismatch offensively with ‘Melo offensively and add a better perimeter defender in Brewer. It’s also a good idea to move ‘Melo down to the 4 occasionally and use Steve Novak a the 3. When Anthony draws doubles, the ball should be able to find Novak’s hands for open three’s.
No matter the combinations, it makes a lot of sense to use Anthony at the 4 on almost a game-by-game basis.
But if ‘Melo doesn’t want to, he likely won’t be seen much there.
Remember all that talk about sacrifice.
Actions speak louder than words.
Let’s hope Anthony realizes what type of weapon he is at the power forward spot and realizes by agreeing to do so he give the Knicks a better chance at winning, and winning is the only thing that really matters.
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