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Tag:Carmelo Anthony
Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:58 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:09 pm
 

Melo if he's selfish: 'Like a slap in the face'

Carmelo has said he'll fit in fine with Jeremy Lin. I guess we'll find out soon. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Jeremy Lin seems to have overcome potentially the first obstacle in toning down Linsanity as he and Amar'e Stoudemire appear to be getting along quite well on the court.

It's the next addition back to the Knicks lineup that people are worried about. But Carmelo Anthony wants you to know something: He's not selfish. Via ESPN New York:
"That's like a slap in the face," Anthony said during an interview with Stephen A. Smith on SportsCenter on Wednesday night. "None of my teammates I've ever played with would say that I was a selfish player. Nobody."

[...]

"It's a tough situation. I'm human at the end of the day, so it's like damn, where is this coming from?" Anthony said. "I know I'm not a selfish player. People around me know I'm not a selfish player. I do everything I can to make people around me understand I'm not a selfish player."

I think there's an easy distinction though between "selfish" and "someone who likes to shoot and have the ball in their hands a lot." Selfish means you're just out there for yourself and your own numbers. I don't think that's ever been Melo. The guy wants to win. He wants to be a good teammate. But in his mind, the best way for him to do both of those things is to shoot and score a lot.

For example, what about Lin's game-winner? What would've happened if Melo were on the floor too?

"Of course I want to take the last shot, let's be quite frank: I've been doing for nine years already, and I've made a ton of them," Anthony said.

And that's where some fear a problem will arise. Not that Lin has become some alpha dog closer because of one shot or a couple good games, but will Carmelo's desire to own the ball late completely disrupt the New York offense? It's a legit question.

Here's the thing: Lin would be the first guy to tell you that he doesn't really want to be averaging 25 points a game, nor should he be next to Melo and Stoudemire. He wants to be a good point guard that leads a winning team. Much in the way he did in New York's 100-85 win over the Kings where Lin dished out 13 assists. In fact, that's exactly what he said after last night's game.

"I think it's my job to get people in rhythm and get people scoring," Lin told reporters. "Hopefully, especially when Melo comes back, another lethal scorer, my shots will go down and my assists will go up."

Melo is a bit of a ball stopper, which is why he's never exactly fit into Mike D'Antoni's pick-and-roll oriented offense. Melo likes to catch the ball and work his own move, isolated from the offense. It's something he's absolutely terrific at, but not something that necessarily fits the players and coach he's playing with. So that's going to be the challenge for him. It's not selfishness. It's fit.

There are going to be some growing pains and some fit issues, but that's natural. I would advise everyone to not freak out if after a couple of games it's not going perfectly, but come on, we know that's not going to happen. It's the vicious cycle of the media hype game. Something gets built way up and then we just wait for it to come crashing back down. Unfortunately for Melo, if that happens, he might be shouldering the blame.
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:23 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:27 pm
 

How Stoudemire and Melo can fit with Lin

Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin can flourish if they trust in how their coach has succeeded in the past.
(Getty Images)


By Matt Moore 


When the Knicks take the floor in Toronto Tuesday night, there will be more media than Toronto will likely receive at any point this season. There will be multiple national writers in attendance, television crews, tabloid writers and bloggers flocking around a 23-year-old undrafted point guard out of Harvard named Jeremy Lin.

Perhaps you've heard of him.

Linsanity is still at its peak, where it will remain until Lin has a genuinely poor game and the Knicks lose. Both have to happen simultaneously. Lin's last performance against the Timberwolves was not great, but it was still productive if not efficient and more importantly the Knicks won. But whether it's tonight or later this week or later this month, eventually Lin will have a bad game and the Knicks will lose. The fever pitch will abate and the season will move on, as the media machine finds something else to freak out about.

But at that point, the Knicks will still have to try and make this thing work.

The biggest question on Tuesday night centers around not only will Lin keep up his phenomenal play, but will he be able to integrate Amar'e Stoudemire into the action. Stoudemire returns to the Knicks Tuesday for the first time since leaving last week following the death of his brother. Given Stoudemire's struggles not only from the floor this season, but in finding a role in the offense, there are high hopes (to put it mildly) that Lin's operation of the pick and roll will open up things for STAT.

And with good reason.

Lin's best work during this five-game winning streak that has seen his meteoric rise to instant stardom has been in the pick and roll, the area where Stoudemire does the most damage. Years of working with Steve Nash in Phoenix taught Amar'e the angle of attack on the roll and how to create space from the defender depending on his reaction to the screen. Stoudemire's not Blake Griffin, so don't expect Lob City, but Lin's ability to drop the bounce pass between defenders means Stoudemire should open up in the offense. For reference, Stoudemire in his last year in Phoenix had 17.7 percent of his touches in the pick and roll set. This year with the Knicks? Just 6.2 percent. Basically the Knicks have not put Stoudemire in one of his best offensive sets. That's largely because they have lacked a ball-handler to do so. Toney Douglas' decision making struggles in the open floor. He's more of an A-or-B binary option circuit. Pass standing or drive. Shoot or kick.

Lin, however, works much better in the pick and roll. His biggest strength is his patience and comfort off the screen, and his decision-making is key. He understand the timing of the set, or at least he has for the past five games. If the defense hedges on Lin and pulls back to defend the drive from Stoudemire, STAT can pick and pop, shred at the elbow unguarded. If this sounds familiar, that's because it is. This is the same dynamic that brought Stoudemire such success in Phoenix with Steve Nash. Jeremy Lin is not Steve Nash. But Mike D'Antoni is still Mike D'Antoni. And this can work.

Linsanity
So, what, then, of Melo? That's the million-dollar-question.

The debate rages about how to use Anthony effectively alongside Lin. Anthony, after-all, is a big fan of the Isolation set, the ball in his hands, able to navigate the floor and search out his own shot, at which he's an elite scorer. But that's not the most effective offense, as shown by the Knicks' early returns. Most of the talk from both pro and con sides have centered around vague generalities. "Melo will use Lin to create open shots" and "Melo can work on his own and with Lin." Melo himself said Monday all the things you want to hear as a Knicks fan, saying he would be giving Lin the ball and getting out of the way. But there's a specific role that D'Antoni's history leads us to with Melo. If Anthony wants to be the most successful he can be, he doesn't have to sacrifice shots or production. He just has to copy the Matrix.

In 2006-2007, Shawn Marion was playing alongside Amar'e Stoudemire in the final year of the team that came to be known as the Seven Seconds or Less Suns. The pace was what always brought up comments and the play of Steve Nash and Stoudemire brought the praise, but the real function behind the Suns was ball movement and careful shot selection. There's a reason Don Nelson's run-and-gun Warriors didn't touch the Suns' success, because the system relied upon deceptively quality shots. Marion was never really appreciated for his contribution alongside Nash and Stoudemire, and in fact needed years to shed a poor defensive reputation as a result of the system's reputation.

But Anthony is a much better offensive player and a much worse defensive player. So how does he fit?

In 2007, Marion took 13.4 shots per game. 27 percent of his possessions came from spot-up shots, according to Synergy Sports. 22 percent came in transition, and 17 percent came off the cut. In short, he filled in the gaps. Do you want Anthony, who spent 32 percent of his possessions in isolation plays before his injury, filling in the gaps? No, but the gap between Marion's 13.4 2007 field goal attempts and Marion's 18.8 2012 isn't huge. When Nash would split the defense and the third defender would rotate to challenge at the rim, there would be Marion, spot-up on the baseline or cutting to the rim.

Easy shots.

That baseline shot was particularly deadly, with Marion's quick flip release. He had his share of dunks off the attention drawn by the pick and roll as well. They weren't long, mid-range jumpers, they were replicable, makeable shots. 

When you put an elite scorer in a position to make easy shots, your efficiency goes up, which forces the defense to adjust to that, which opens up things for Lin and Stoudemire, which forces the defense... you get the idea.

Anthony can still work in isolation. A drive and kick from Lin means that the second and third defenders Melo has been seeing will be occupied. And Anthony one-on-one in the flow of an offense, in rhythm is deadly, nearly as deadly as him uncovered. There's a way to make Anthony not just good at what he does, but better. To put him in a position to attack the glass. To take the most shots on the team and still not stop the ball. It's complicated. It's tenuous. It relies on Lin being as good if not better than he's been in the offense.

Mike D'Antoni's system has a lot of flaws, draws a lot of criticism, but one thing it can do is create efficient scoring with a talented point guard. He hasn't had that in New York. For the last five games, he's found that in Jeremy Lin. It's an opportunity for Lin, for Melo, for Stoudemire to live up to the potential the Knicks were supposed to have. It may be their last chance to live up to the hype.

Oh, and Anthony should take a look at Marion's defense, too.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:49 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 6:38 am
 

Melo says playing with Lin 'a dream come true'

Carmelo Anthony says he'll fit in fine with Jeremy Lin. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

While Amar'e Stoudemire returned to practice following the death of his brother and is expected to play Tuesday when Linsanity and the Knicks face the Raptors, Carmelo Anthony told reporters Monday that he thinks talk of how he will fit in with Jeremy Lin is "funny." As to who's going to be in charge when Melo retakes the floor following an injury absence, Anthony couldn't have been clearer. It's the Lin Show until further notice. From ESPN NY:
"When I'm reading the stuff, it's more funny than anything because at the end of the day I know what I bring to the game, I know what I bring to this team," Anthony said on Monday after missing practice due to a strained right groin. "My teammates know that. But to say, 'How can I fit in?' It's easy; give him the ball and space out. I get back to doing what I know how to do best. So we'll see."

Anthony said he is confident that he can fit in well with Lin, who missed practice on Monday for a standard recovery day and will play on Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors. Anthony has missed the Knicks' last three games after injuring his groin on Monday against Utah. He is happy that Lin has emerged to take some of the load off of his shoulders.

"I know there's questions about, 'Can I fit in?' and stuff like that, but this is like a dream come true to me," Anthony said. "It takes some pressure off of me. I don't have to play point guard. I don't have to try to get Amare 20 points, try to get this guy 20 points, me try to go out there and get 25-30 points a night, play defense, rebound do the whole thing."
via New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony could return this week, likes Jeremy Lin - ESPN New York.

This is exactly what you want to hear from Anthony if you're a Knicks fan. There's no question Stoudemire can co-exist, even flourish with Lin doing what he's done in the superstar duo's absence. Stoudemire's best value comes from working out of the pick and roll, either exploding to the rim or catching and shooting in the space provided. Lin's work with Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries has demonstrated a command over the set and he should fit in perfectly fine with Stoudemire.

Anthony, who has primarily been an isolation scorer throughout his career and particulary in his firs year with the Knicks, is a bit trickier. But Anthony is certainly saying the right things about how to keep the critics at bay. He wants his own looks, to be sure, but he's also happy to have a guard to create. Anthony had been asked to essentially run point forward at the start of this season with Toney Douglas' struggles and Iman Shumpert's inexperience, and the results were not good. This is a tremendous opportunity for him to have shots created for him, to be allowed to work in space, and to have his incredible talent produce on easy looks versus exceptionally difficult ones.

The only question is if Anthony will be good to his word and take it.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:04 am
 

Clippers can and must move on without Billups

Chauncey Billups will miss at least eight months after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

You have to wonder how angry at fate Chauncey Billups is. 

Billups was traded from Detroit to his hometown of Denver. He was part of a winning team there, advancing to the Conference Finals and giving the Lakers a fight. Things were headed in a good direction for him to finish his career as part of a contender.

Less than 24 months later, facing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, there has to be a lot of confusion and resentment over how things got to this point.

After all, it wasn't Billups who wished to leave Denver. He had his agent leak that he would be unhappy being part of any move made. But the Carmelo Anthony saga was bigger than Billups, bigger than any of the other nearly dozen players involved. Billups was sucked up into it and shipped to New York. And Billups went along with it. He was a pro. He tried working in a system that was not suited to his needs, dealt with having his pride damaged by essentially being a tag-a-long to the gunner star Melo and his reality television wife. Here was a player who had a title to his name suffering to the whims of a superstar without jewelry. But he went along with it.

The Knicks were looking at moves. Billups asked them to not trade him. Then the Knicks started talking about bringing in Tyson Chandler, which would mean they'd need to amnesty Billups. Fine with him, he'd still get paid. But the way the amnesty structure was set up in a CBA (which Billups likely did not want but was willing to take like the rest of the players just to end the lockout), another team could claim him off waivers for a portion of his salary. For Billups, that was enough. He'd dealt with being traded like meat, that comes with part of the business. He'd dealt with being baggage to the Melo circus, again, part of the business. He'd done his best in New York like a professional. But if he was going to be waived, he was not going to wind up on a cellar-dweller. 

So he made it known. A professional his whole career, a locker-room leader and NBA champion, he had to openly threaten teams with disrupting their teams if they tried to bring him into a rebuilder.

The Clippers took him anyway.

And Billups was not happy about it, but in the end, his professionalism won out. He didn't show up surly. He didn't show up angry. Even when once again he became a part of a freakshow with the trade of Chris Paul, he did his thing. They wanted him to move to shooting guard. Sure thing.

And now, this.

Maybe he would have gotten injured anyway. Maybe his Achilles was a ticking time bomb. And he still gets paid, after all. The full amount of his contract. But consider that it's likely that Billups' career ends this way:

He suffered a potentially career-ending injury playing for a team who signed him off amnesty waivers after he specifically asked them not to using a clause in the CBA which he did not want from a team he didn't want to be sent to in the first place due the Melo drama which had nothing to do with him.

His season is over. He will not play for Team USA this summer. His career may be over. 

It is not difficult to come to the conclusion that Chauncey Billups deserved better than this. 

-----------------------------------
-
 
As for the Clippers, many will begin talks that this damages their team irreparably. But a quick look at the roster confirms that the Clippers are in as good a position to survive this as any team can be. They have a number of options. Observe: 

1. Move Caron Butler to shooting guard, start Ryan Gomes. Butler has flourished in the small forward position, stretching the floor. But he can just as easily move to two-guard. Ryan Gomes can fill the gap at small forward and from there out, the Clippers employ a large number of three-guard lineups anyway.

2. Start Randy Foye, keep Mo Williams off the bench, Butler stays at the three. This is what the Clippers have done when Billups has missed games due to a myriad of injuries. Foye is not at all Billups, but he is younger and more athletic. What's more, Foye is less likely to force the issue and try and score on his own, more likely to facilitate both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin along with Butler.

3. Start Mo Williams, bring Foye off the bench. Mo Williams has been a potential sixth man of the year candidate this season and has played exceptionally well. He would likely welcome a move to the starting lineup for his pride's sake and despite not having Billups' size, can work just fine next to Paul as a shooter. Williams is a scoring point regardless, and with the Clippers using Paul as a decoy on many possessions anyway, Williams can create with Griffin and DeAndre Jordan just as well.

4. Sign J.R. Smith, use either he or Mo Williams off the bench. Smith is due to be released from this obligations with the Chinese Basketball Association sometime in the next three to six weeks depending on playoffs. The Clippers are being heavily discussed as a suitor for him, and it would be a natural fit. They don't have the cap space to offer him a long term deal, but he could come in immediately, be given as many shot as he can find room for, and play for a team in contention. This scenario makes the most sense, whether it's him or or Williams off the bench.

The Clippers will miss Billups' on-floor leadership, his scoring, his defense, and his experience. But Billups also hasn't been a very productive player due to age. He fit well on the Clippers, but with their guard depth, they're well-suited to withstand this blow in time. It doesn't make it any better, but it's still a huge loss, but it's not one that creates a crisis in their backcourt. This team has too much talent left and too much at stake not to press forward.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:01 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 1:05 am
 

Monday, bloody Monday strikes the NBA

Chauncey Billups was one of several players to go down with injuries Monday. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

If there was a tipping point for when the compacted schedule would really start to take a significant toll on the league through injury, you have to wonder if it was Monday night. Here's a rundown of the M*A*S*H* unit the league turned into Monday night in a torrent of injuries. 

  • The Hornets announced Jason Smith is out one week with a concussion he sustained Saturday against the  Pistons. 
  • Elton Brand was held out of the Sixers' game against the Lakers with a thumb injury. 

 That's one night of action and we haven't even gotten the random trickle-down injuries from the late games yet. Usually we'd be about a week away from the All-Star Game but since we haven't actually gotten through that many games due to the late start following the lockout, there's another three weeks before the All-Star break provides some relief. Vince Carter said last week that this year was about survival and you can tell how much that has an impact on teams' approaches. It's just a rough year for all teams in terms of managing wear and tear with this schedule, and Monday night was one in which a lot of teams lost that battle.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 8:09 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 5:54 pm
 

Carmelo Anthony out 1-2 weeks with strained groin

Posted by Royce Young



Update Tuesday 11:45 a.m.:  The Knicks announced Tuesday Carmelo Anthony is out 1-2 weeks with a strained right groin. So Linsanity better be sustainable or the Knicks could come completely apart. On the other hand, this might give the Knicks a chance to find some chemistry and success offensively without Melo. If the Knicks, who have won their past two games behind strong play from undrafted guard Jeremy Lin, keep winning without Melo, that's just going to get awkward. 


----------------------------

Just when things were finally starting to look the tiniest bit positive for the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony had to leave Monday's game against the Jazz in the first quarter because of a strained groin.

Anthony injured the groin just running up the floor and did not return to the game. He will be evaluated and a timetable will be set after that. Melo had just returned from a stint on the bench to rest list of injuries that included a bad wrist, back and ankle.

The Knicks were already shorthanded without Amar'e Stoudemire, whose brother was killed in a car accident earlier in the day.

Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:16 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:16 pm
 

Bosh, Love the big All-Star starter snubs

Posted by Royce Young

Despite leading the West in rebounds and sitting third in points, Kevin Love wasn't named a starter. (Getty Images)

The starting fives for the Eastern and Western Conference were announced Thursday night
and while there weren't any surprises from the fan vote, the question is, should there have been?

By default this season, the fans weren't afforded the opportunity to really mess this up as Yao Ming retired and wasn't on the ballot. But I'm sure he's still somehow going to be named the Western reserves anyway. It wouldn't be a proper All-Star Game without him.

But let's figure it out: Did the fans get it right?

EAST

Obviously Derrick Rose is the right choice at point guard. The alternative option would be Deron Williams I suppose. Or Rajon Rondo, who finished second. Or if you wanted to get clever, maybe Jrue Holiday or Kyrie Irving. But Rose is the obvious correct choice despite him missing a handful of games with an injury. You don't snub the reigning MVP.

But at shooting guard, there's a case to be made for someone else here. Wade is the obvious top 2 in the East, but he's only played in 13 of Miami's 22 games this season. His numbers are good and he's as much a superstar as you can be, but if you want to give it to a deserving player, you could point to Joe Johnson who is leading the Hawks to the top of the East despite Atlanta having lost Al Horford. Still, Wade's the choice. Just the way it is.

Dwight Howard, check. Moving on.

The two forward spots is where I'd point to a mistake by the fans. LeBron James is obviously the right pick, but Carmelo Anthony is not. Not only has he missed a good chunk of New York's season, but he's not even playing that well. His team stinks and Melo's putting up near career-low numbers. You know who deserves that spot? Chris Bosh, believe it or not. Bosh has quietly had a terrific season for Miami. A 21.0 PER, 20.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Bosh deserves to start. Melo absolutely does not. Quite honestly, I'm not even sure if he's a reserve at this point.

WEST

If I wanted to have things thrown at me, I'd say Russell Westbrook deserves to start ahead of Chris Paul. CP3 missed a number of the Clippers' games and Westbrook has followed up last season's breakout with another terrific start. But I won't go there. CP3 showed Wednesday in Utah why he's not just the best point guard in the West, but the entire league.

Kobe Bryant, not going to argue with that. Honestly the only player that you could even recommend right now with Manu Ginobili being hurt is James Harden. And that's not at all reasonable.

Kevin Durant, check. He's not just scoring the ball well again this year while averaging career-highs in rebounding and assists, but his team sits atop the West and he's a solid MVP candidate.

Andrew Bynum gets the starters nod almost by default of being the best center in the West, but you could try and make something for Marc Gasol or Nene. Clipper fans want to point out DeAndre Jordan's defense, but come on. Bynum is averaging career-highs with 16.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Bynum is the right selection, but not by too much.

Where the fans whiffed was at the 4 again. Yes, that means I'm going to tell you why Blake Griffin, even with his detonation of the Internet by posterizing Kendrick Perkins, is not the choice. Griffin's had a terrific season thus far, but I don't see how you deny Kevin Love. He doesn't have the highlight resume and doesn't have an arena oohing over a good offensive rebound, but Love leads the West in rebounding, is actually third in the West in scoring and has a PER of 25.87.

Griffin's numbers are great and you could even try and say LaMarcus Aldridge or Pau Gasol are deserving of mentions. So there they are. But that spot is owed to Love. His numbers are just too good to deny and there's not the excuse that his team is terrible anymore. The Wolves are nipping at that eight spot and are playing good basketball.

Plus, Love did this to Griffin, which should count for something, right?
Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:15 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:55 pm
 

2012 NBA East, West All-Star starters announced

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade will square off in another NBA All-Star Game. (Getty Images)

The NBA officially announced the starting lineups for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, as voted by the fans on Thursday night, and there were no surprises.

The Eastern Conference starting lineup: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Heat forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

The Western Conference starting lineup: Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

The league's coaches will vote to the rest of the rosters and their decisions will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 9.

All 10 players were on pace as leading vote-getters during the first and second rounds of balloting that were released during the last two weeks.

2012 marks Rose's third selection, Wade's eighth selection, James' eighth selection, Anthony's fifth selection, Howard's sixth selection, Paul's fifth selection, Bryant's 14th selection and Kevin Durant's third selection. Bynum is the only first-time All-Star selection among the starters. Griffin, making his second appearance, joins Bynum as the only other first-time starter. 

Aside from Bynum and Griffin, the other eight players were all selected as starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Anthony represented the Denver Nuggets and played for the Western Conference team last year. Paul represented the Western Conference as a member of the New Orleans Hornets.

Retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire are the two 2011 All-Star Game starters that did not return this season.

Here are the final vote tallies for the 10 All-Star starters. Howard was the overall leading vote-getter and Bryant led the way out West.
East: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,600,390; Derrick Rose (Chi) 1,514,723; LeBron James (Mia) 1,360,680; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,334,223; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 1,041,290

West: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,555,479; Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,345,566; Chris Paul (LAC) 1,138,743; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 1,051,945; Blake Griffin (LAC) 876,451
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at the Amway Center in Orlando on Feb. 26. Bryant will look to repeat his performance as the 2011 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Here's a look at the jerseys that will be worn during the game.

For more coverage of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, check out CBSSports.com's NBA All-Star Game hub.
 
 
 
 
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