Monday, October 22, 2012
Opening Tip: Who should start at the four?
By Jared Zwerling
Carmelo Anthony could take over the four in Amar'e Stoudemire's absence.
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: With Amar'e Stoudemire out for likely the first week of the season, who should start at power forward?
There's no question Carmelo Anthony can slide over to the four, because in Stoudemire's absence from March 26 to April 18 last season, he put up these numbers: 30.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from downtown. And during that stretch, the Knicks went 9-4.
Anthony's best asset adjusting to power forward is his ability to post up. He has the size, quickness and footwork, which allows him to pull of his trademark spin move, for example, to get to the basket.
Melo's also an underrated passer, but he's better at finding guys on the block, because the down-low setup opens up his court vision and he's able to attract double teams. When's on the wing, his favorite scoring position, he's usually in a one-on-one situation and his focus is more on a quick isolation move to score.
With Stoudemire out, Woodson should also allow Melo to run some pick-and-rolls -- another area where he excels at distributing, especially because defenses can't give him too much room to execute his quick release. Therefore, he's able to find passing lanes. With Tyson Chandler still in the lineup, the two of them could be an effective duo.
Of course, when you move Melo to the four, you lose one of the best shooters in the game at the three. So in a smaller starting lineup, it could be Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Steve Novak, Anthony and Chandler. In a bigger one, Melo could still play the three, while Kurt Thomas, a knock-down midrange shooter, becomes the four. It mostly depends on defensive matchups, which Woodson addressed after Monday morning's shootaround at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
The bigger question is not who starts at power forward, but who plays the majority of minutes at that position? And with Stoudemire out, that should be Anthony, who can conquer the court in multiple ways.
While he's been talking a whole lot about sacrificing points lately, the bottom line is this: Melo will be Melo to start the season, a scoring threat who has the potential to make a key defensive stop on every possession.
Who do you think should start at power forward? Leave us your comments below.