New York Knicks: Stop Worrying About Carmelo Anthony


Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks have built a strong rotation. The approach to the game is reminiscent of the 1990s, with blue collar competitors and committed defenders helping New York become more competitive than anyone could’ve expected through five games.

The one player who hasn’t consistently shown up is the most important contributor of all: Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony is averaging 21.8 points per game, but he’s doing so on a slash line of .365/.320/.886. He’s scored less than 20 points in three of his five appearances, and has converted at 37.0 percent or worse from the field in four.

That includes two games at 25.0 percent shooting or below.

Despite his struggles, it’s far too soon to write Anthony off as a past-his-time star. Instead of harping on the numbers, one should instead focus on the flaws in his game and see just how correctable they are.

For Knicks fans and critics, a word of advice appears necessary: stop worrying about Carmelo Anthony.

Not a Mechanical Issue

Through five games, Carmelo Anthony is shooting 36.5 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers need not be reiterated to properly explain just how poorly he’s playing.

That has far more to do with an inability to get the usual lift on his jump shots than it does a decline in skill or ability.

Anthony is just five regular season games into his return from a debridement and repair surgery on his left patella tendon. Thus, it’s hardly surprising that he’s struggling with key areas of his game such as his second jump and the elevation on his jumper.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, Anthony simply needs time to improve his stamina. There isn’t an issue with his remaining skill, but instead his ability to maintain a high level of energy from beginning to end—something that’s to be expected of a player in his situation.

According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York, Anthony doesn’t believe his struggles have anything to do with flawed mechanics:

"“The mechanics are there,” Anthony said. “Just that lift, power coming back to game shape, game form.”“It’s just legs,” he added. “The shot is right there. Some of them I’m shooting them long, some I’m shooting short. It’s just about getting that rhythm.”"

He’s right.

Anthony hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to shoot or score. He’s struggling because his flawless footwork, creative arsenal of mid-range maneuvers and devastating ability to hit pull-up 3s haven’t yet been met by his physical readiness.

The moves are all there, but the legs are not.

If this problem persists, Anthony will clearly need to make changes. Should such a scenario arise, however, the 31-year-old would still be able to rediscover his touch.

Assuming he does, the Knicks will be a very dangerous team.

It’s About Winning

The New York Knicks are 2-3. The three losses have come by an average of 11.0 points per game, which is a misrepresentative number that fails to illustrate how close the games have been.

As Ian Begley of ESPN New York reported earlier this month, the wins and losses are the only thing that head coach Derek Fisher is focused on.

"“We have to continue to get to a point where we’re OK with just the winning percentage. It’s not about anybody’s field goal percentage. The more guys we have on our team that are interested in overall winning percentage, then we can become a good team.”"


The Knicks aren’t building a shrine to Anthony, nor should they be. Instead, Jackson is in the process of building a team that’s, at the very least, solid at every position and committed to a steady nightly effort.

That combination of depth and passion has been the foundation of New York’s quality play thus far.

When the team is working hard and defending well, it’s then on Anthony to rise to the occasion. That pertains more to his performance in the fourth quarter than something as trivial as an early-season field goal percentage.

Once Anthony rediscovers his heralded fourth quarter heroics, the first five games of the season will be nothing more than a blip on the radar.

The Strange Reality

Carmelo Anthony, like everyone else in the NBA, struggled mightily against Kawhi Leonard. He didn’t shoot much better against LeBron James, although he did play a strong game overall.

Surprisingly, Anthony’s biggest issue hasn’t been the level of competition; it’s been the fact that he can’t seem to hit uncontested jump shots.

According to, Anthony converted just 1-of-8 uncontested field goal attempts against the Atlanta Hawks. It was no prettier at the Milwaukee Bucks, when he made just 1-of-5 uncontested attempts, per

It’s safe to say that Anthony’s issue with missing opening shots will not persist—and it hasn’t.

Anthony made 4-of-9 uncontested field goal attempts at the Cleveland Cavaliers, per Before that, he was 3-of-5 against the San Antonio Spurs and 3-of-4 at the Washington Wizards.

All that’s left for ‘Melo is to find his legs as an isolation scorer.

Next: Is Carmelo Anthony a Top 10 player in franchise history?

Anthony is putting himself in a position to make the shots that he’s hit for the better part of 12 completed seasons. The issue is not his ability to get to the areas in which he thrives, but instead his consistency in converting.

For the umpteenth time, that’s rust—not a decline in ability.

Anthony may or may not get his legs back as the season progresses. Considering the regular season is only five games deep, however, it’s far too early to be worrying about whether or not an all-time scorer will find a way to consistently put points on the board.

Optimistic or otherwise, history offers a resounding cry of support for Anthony finding his rhythm.