New York Knicks: Baron Davis Exposes One Of Team’s Many Flaws

Feb 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

Former New York Knicks point guard Baron Davis spoke with The New York Daily News about Carmelo Anthony. Here’s why he’s spot on in his assessment.

These days, it seems that everyone and their uncle is expressing their opinion on the New York Knicks. That is, besides Phil Jackson.

This time, it’s former Knick Baron Davis who’s making his voice heard. No, he isn’t petitioning to be summoned as the next passenger on the Knicks’ starting point guard carousel. He is, however, commenting on Carmelo Anthony and how the Knickerbockers are utilizing him.

Davis relayed the following to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News:

"“Melo is a dude who wants to be in New York. It’s different. I think that when we were, the two years I was there, I thought we had the people and chemistry around him, and personalities to let Melo be Melo. When you allow Melo to be himself, then he becomes one of the most dangerous weapons in the league. And everyone else around the team takes the responsibility of making sure that weapon is utilized. And I think the last couple years we went to the playoffs, we started to develop that. Once we got over the ‘Linsanity,’ it was like, we still know who the weapon is. Like, and the team was there. We were closer than we’ve ever been to really building something. And then it kind of all went downhill.”"

Baron Davis realizes what many, including the aforementioned Phil Jackson, do not. That realization is that Anthony is who he is: an all-time great scorer. When Davis was in New York, he didn’t even see the best version of ‘Melo, but still understood how lethal of a weapon he was.

In what was undeniably his best season, 2012-13, Anthony was the only player in the league who received an MVP vote not named LeBron James. In that season, the former Orangeman averaged a career-best 28.7 points per game and tied a career-low with 2.6 assists per game.

That team went on to win 54 games and the division title, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

In what some consider Anthony’s best all-around season, 2015-16, he found his teammates, but at the expense of his scoring numbers. His scoring average was 21.8 points per game—the third-lowest mark of his career—but he averaged 4.2 assists per game—the highest in his career.

That team finished with a 32-50 record and the franchise missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

See a pattern forming?

Since this disappointing season is coming to a close, yet again without a playoff berth, Jeff Hornacek must find a way to utilize ‘Melo so that his talents are maximized going forward. As long as the man who rocks the headband is on this Knicks roster and is still in his prime, he’ll be the focal point of New York’s criticism, pregame introductions, and the offense.

We know through Jackson’s comments to CBS Sports’ We Need To Talk that he doesn’t like when Anthony holds the ball for more than two seconds, so ‘iso-Melo’ doesn’t seem to be a favorable option for the Knicks’ team president.

Will Jeff Hornacek be able to successfully blend his spread, pick-and-roll offense with the triangle to maximize ‘Melo’s talents? I believe he was doing a fairly decent job of it before Jackson ordered his head coach to implement more triangle.

With whatever system the Knicks end up going with, it must allow “‘Melo to be himself,” as Baron Davis summed up perfectly. When Anthony was allowed to be himself, he won the scoring title, received MVP votes, and led the team to their best season in 19 years.

When Anthony was marginalized and forced to be more of a floor general, he may have seen his assists increase, but the same can’t be said of the team’s victories.

Sure, the 2012-13 team was more talented than the 2015-16 team, but Anthony was at his best because he could be who he was.

In order for No. 7 to be, “One of the most dangerous weapons in the league,” he needs to be surrounded by players who will get him the ball in spots that he likes and help him on the defensive end.

Both of those were done during the 54-win season, but not the 32-win season.

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Baron Davis was a highly-respected player from his peers because of his knowledge of the game. His accurate analysis of this specific situation coincides wonderfully with how he gained the recognition from his teammates during his career.