Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Opening tip: Does Melo need to change?

By Ohm Youngmisuk



Happy Phil Jackson Day!

Today, the Knicks will usher in the Jackson era with a press conference at 11 a.m. Jackson should face a bunch of questions pertaining to how he wants and plans to change the Knicks.

Among the many questions will be what he wants to do with Carmelo Anthony, who will opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Does Jackson want Anthony back for all that money? If so, how does he plan to build around Melo? And does Melo need to change or alter his game in any way, like Jackson got Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to do in stops in Chicago and Los Angeles?

Carmelo was asked how he would handle the situation if Phil asked him to play a different way. Initially, Melo wasn’t quite sure what the reporter meant by the question.

“I mean, what’s a different way? I don’t really know,” Anthony said.

The reporter clarified with the idea of potentially playing in a different offense and being more point-forward oriented in a potential triangle offense.

That’s when Anthony said something that could go a long way for both him and Jackson.

“I’m willing to do whatever,” Anthony said. “As long as it’s gonna puts me in a position to win, I’m willing to do whatever. I’m not sold or stuck on my play.

“What I’ve been able to do these past 10-11 years has gotten me at where I am right now,” Anthony continued. “If Phil wants to come in and change that this late in my career, if it’s going to help me win a championship, I’m with it.”

Anthony could have brushed off the question. Instead, he said all the right things, including that he is willing to change for the good of the team and himself in order to win a title.

He’s averaging 28 points, 8.3 rebounds and is shooting 45.4 percent overall and 41.5 percent from the 3-point line, despite not having a ton of help on many nights this season.

So if you’re Phil, what would you want Melo to change about his game to take the big step from prolific scorer to elite winner? The Zen Master believes that “no man is an island”, and that it is all about the team and sacrificing ego.

Jackson said in an interview with HBO in 2012 that Anthony needs to improve on his passing. Hopefully this morning we will hear more of what Phil’s vision is not only for the Knicks, but for Melo as well.

Up now: Melo is willing to change his game if Phil wants him to in order to win a title.

His Airness says Phil can turn the Knicks around.

Stephen A. writes about Phil, Melo and Dolan, and their future together. He also writes what he is hearing about Melo’s mindset about staying or leaving.

Steve Kerr talks about his relationship with Phil, his desire to coach and the rumors of him coaching the Knicks.

Mike Woodson says the Knicks never quit at any point this season.

What’s next: Phil meets the media at MSG at 11 a.m.

Question of the day: Do you think Melo needs to change his game? And if so, what specifically?