- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Carmelo Anthony, an All-Star at small forward, played arguably his best basketball at power forward last season.
But if it's up to him, he won't be playing there much this season.
"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."
When asked if he meant that, as long as his teammates remain healthy, his preference is to play the wing, Anthony said, "Absolutely."
Many observers consider Anthony to be a dangerous weapon at the power forward. He's able to create and take advantage of matchup problems against slower defenders. Anthony also seems to have better success on defense against the slower power forwards rather than wing players.
Last year, Anthony thrived while playing extended minutes at power forward during Amar'e Stoudemire's absence due to a back injury.
During that time, Anthony carried the scoring load for the Knicks, earning the NBA's player of the month award in April. He averaged 29.8 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting for the month.
Comparing his numbers as a power forward to those he put up at small forward last season, it seems Anthony played with a greater efficiency at power forward. Of course, there were other factors at play, but the numbers are intriguing.
In 13 games starting at power forward last season (during Stoudemire's absence), Anthony averaged 30 points per 36 minutes on 50.5 percent shooting, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Knicks' offensive rating with Anthony at power forward was 108.9.
In 42 games at small forward, Anthony averaged 21.8 points per 36 minutes on 40.1 percent shooting and the Knicks' offensive rating (a measure of points scored per 100 possessions) was 100.4.
Anthony's minutes at power forward this season could come at the expense of Stoudemire. There are several combinations of lineups in which Anthony could play power forward with Stoudemire on the bench. Another option, though it would leave the Knicks vulnerable defensive, is for Mike Woodson to use Anthony at power forward and Stoudemire at center.
Question: Do you think Woodson should play Anthony at power forward this season?
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1dESPN Stats & Information
5dChad Ford and Kevin Pelton