When the New York Knicks started off the season winning their first six games without the injured Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert, superstar Carmelo Anthony received most of the credit for the great start. Now that the Knicks have lost three out of four, and are 3-4 after the fast start, does Carmelo deserve some of the blame as well?
The quick start of the Knicks didn’t occur on the offensive end of the floor, but on the defensive end. Through the first six games of the season, the Knicks allowed only 89.8 points per game. In the seven games since, the Knicks have given up 100.3 points a game, an increase of 10.5 points. What has changed?
The Knicks, including Carmelo Anthony, were very intense on the defensive end of the court at the beginning of the season, and it showed in the numbers and the game results. Since, Carmelo, and the team, have not been as tenacious on defense, and it shows in the numbers as well. Through the first four games of the season, Carmelo had four blocked shots. At 6’8″, I have always thought Carmelo could block some shots, and it showed in his effort. Still, in the nine games since, he has blocked only one shot.
What is the biggest sign that Hero Ball has returned? Turnovers by Carmelo Anthony. In the first six games, all wins by the Knicks, Carmelo had a total of 13 turnovers, or 2.2 per game. In the seven games since, his turnovers have almost doubled, as he has turned it over 29 times, or 4.1 per game. The reason has been forced shots. Carmelo is a high-volume shooter, but it is much easier for him to score, and less likely for him to turn the ball over, when he is taking his shots in the flow of the offense.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand just as much as anyone that a six-game sample is small, as is a seven-game sample, but all of the positive changes that Carmelo seemed to make at the beginning of the season are slowly going away. If they continue to disappear, so will the chances of success for the 2012-2013 season for the New York Knicks.