Monday, October 1, 2012
Carmelo says he's ready to make sacrifices
By Ian Begley
Carmelo Anthony has built a reputation -- and a brand -- based on his ability to score the basketball.
But he's ready to sacrifice points this season for the sake of winning games.
That's the biggest statement Anthony made Monday, when the Knicks met with the media for the first time this season.
"This is my 10th year," Anthony said. "I think everybody pretty much knows I can score the basketball. But for me, I’m done trying to score 30, 35, 40 points for us to win a basketball game. I don’t want that role anymore. It’s what I do best. But in order for this team to be successful with the guys that we have we need a more well-rounded team."
Interesting, to say the least.
Anthony is widely recognized as one of the top offensive talents in the game. But critics often bemoan Anthony's tendency to operate in isolation.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, 34.3 percent of Anthony’s plays last year were in isolation, the highest rate of any player in the NBA. Second behind Anthony was teammate J.R. Smith (33.4 percent).
Anthony said Monday that he's willing to make adjustments if it helps the Knicks' win total. "If I have to sacrifice on the offensive end, I’m willing to do it," Anthony said. "It’s easy for me to sit here to say it. But this year for me it’s going to be doing what I need to do to help this team win."
So, what prompted the new perspective? Anthony said it was his experience with the U.S. Olympic team in London. He teamed with Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and others to bring home the gold -- the second of Anthony's international career.
"It kind of put everything in perspective," Anthony said. "It’s easier being on a team when you have 12 of the best players in the world on one team. But I think just the principles of guys having trust in one in another to know if something goes wrong that you just move on."
Don't let those quotes confuse you, though. The Knicks still need Anthony to score to be successful. One look at the roster tells you that, outside of Smith and Amare Stoudemire, there aren't many other consistent scoring options (and we use that term loosely with Smith).
"When I say scoring less, I don’t want to say I’m not going to score the basketball. I can never stop doing that. That’s what I do best," Anthony said. "We definitely need that. It’s just a matter of being more consistent on the basketball, picking my spots, kind of getting everybody else going. ...(But) I’m not saying I’m not going to score the basketball. Don’t take it out of context."
One pressing issue for the Knicks -- and coach Mike Woodson in particular -- is getting Anthony and Amare Stoudemire on the same page offensively. Woodson remains optimistic that it will happen, though the numbers suggest otherwise.
The Knicks' winning percentage in games when both Stoudemire and Anthony played together last season was just 46.7 percent.
"This year, me and Amare are not paying attention to that," Anthony said. "I talked to him. That’s something we would not allow to come into the locker room, come between us as players. We will be one tight group this season."