Sunday, July 13, 2014
Phil: Melo no longer 'Mr. Do It All' for Knicks
By Fred Katz | Special to ESPNNewYork.com
LAS VEGAS -- Re-signing Carmelo Anthony was the first step in a series of moves the New York Knicks need to become competitive once again. Still, Phil Jackson’s team is a long way away from building a championship roster.
No matter what the Knicks do the rest of the offseason, it’s going to take time, and Jackson knows that.
“If we’re still going to sit and rely on Carmelo to do everything and put that load on him, that’s not going to happen,” Jackson said of the Knicks’ chances at immediate success. “Sometimes it means buying into the system and giving yourself into a process.”
That system is, of course, the triangle offense, something the Knicks have even been running during their first couple games at Las Vegas Summer League. It’s practice for Derek Fisher and the coaching staff, and a rehearsal for the players, many of whom will be on the roster once the regular season begins.
For the first time in his career, Anthony will adjust to playing within the triangle.
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“One of the things about the offensive system is you can’t try to score every time you catch the ball,” Jackson says about Anthony’s ball-dominant culture. “You have to participate and you also have to have guys who are strong enough to know that there’s a whole offense to run.”
It has become such a common topic: Will the Knicks and Melo thrive within the triangle? But really, this isn’t about a “system” or “the triangle” as much as it’s about style.
Anthony has been a ball-dominant player throughout his NBA career. Last season, when he isolated more on a per-play basis than any other qualifying player in the league, per Synergy Sports, was no different. But maybe next year can be.
“He admired San Antonio’s game and how they played, and that’s the way we want to play,” Jackson said of Melo’s prospects on becoming a ball-mover.
We’ve seen Anthony shy away from dribbling and transform into a leading catch-and-shoot player in the past. That is what we call Olympic Carmelo. In the NBA, that style still has a chance to consume Melo’s game, though it doesn’t need to all the time. Anthony’s ability to create on his own remains one of the most valuable assets the Knicks have.
“You need to have that man who can get shots on his own,” Jackson theorizes about NBA offense. “Then, you have a guy that’s a great bailout guy in Carmelo.”
No one in the Eastern Conference can pull off that skill better than Anthony, and coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his career, it’s possible we see a better Melo than we’ve seen before once he fully adjusts to a new system.
Phil Jackson on having to let Lamar Odom go: “Oh, it hurt. It hurt. We wanted him to have an opportunity. Just couldn’t kind of break free from what was going on and get back on the basketball court and work.”
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