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‘Melo says he’ll play the four until Stoudemire returns. It should be longer.

Oct 23, 2012, 11:02 AM EDT

Miami Heat v New York Knicks - Game Four Getty Images

The challenge of getting Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire to mesh on offense — to get the Knicks playing well when the two of them and Tyson Chandler are all on the court — remains the key to the entire season on the island of Manhattan.

But not the start of the season. With Stoudemire out at least the first week or two of the regular season, the Knicks plan to slide Anthony to the power forward spot — where he was a force last season and was for Team USA this summer.

In the past Anthony has said he didn’t want to play the four, but the question was did he mean that because he thought it would take him off the wing or was it because he was trying to protect Stoudemire. Looking at his quote via the New York Daily News, sounds like Anthony was thinking protection.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be there,” Anthony said on Sunday about the power forward spot. “I don’t have no problem. I’ve played it last year. I played four-five the whole summer. I have no problem playing that position. It’s just a matter of us having guys at that position with Amar’e being healthy and things like that and Kurt Thomas and Rasheed (Wallace). So now I guess it’s back to the drawing board with me at the power forward position.”

The Knicks are going to have to deal with the political issues of playing Anthony at the four and what to do with Stoudemire, because if it’s about putting guys where they play their best and winning, there has to be more Anthony as the power forward. All season long, not just with Stoudemire out. This has to be a regular part of the rotation.

Zach Lowe did a fantastic post on this at Grantland, a must read for Knicks fans, breaking down the numbers and video of Anthony at the four spot.

Considering only lineups that logged at least 15 minutes last season, the Knicks scored 110.6 points per 100 possessions and allowed 104.6 with Melo at power forward — a net plus-six, a margin typical of one of the league’s five or six best teams…. Remove two qualifying lineups featuring Steve Novak and Tyson Chandler, thus isolating lineups in which Melo played with three traditional guards, and you get a stingier result: 108.3 points per 100 possessions/102.3 allowed.

Anthony is at his most dangerous when he gets the ball out on the wing and drives the lane, resulting in him getting to the rim, getting fouled or shooting a midrange shot which can be very effective. The theory is he is more likely to drive on a slower power forward defender than a quicker small forward. What you want to avoid is Anthony settling too often for getting the ball on the wing and just taking the 20-foot jumper.

It’s still not a perfect solution because Anthony is not a great defender, especially help defender, so you need Chandler out there to cover some of his mistakes. And then there remains the Stoudemire questions — do you bring him off the bench? Maybe play him some at the five with a small and speedy lineup (although an Anthony/Stoudemire front line would be a defensive disaster).

I expect as the season wears on the Knicks are going to find Anthony at the four is their best, or at least one of their best, lineups. And they are going to have to find a way to use it a lot. Whatever the challenges it creates in the locker room.

  1. rj2323 - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Melo should be playing a lot more 4 he can be a huge force down there in my opinion he is the best pure scorer in the NBA can take u out or in

    • zerole00 - Oct 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Cool, so what’s A’mare Stoudemire going to do to earn that contract of his?

    • dls612 - Oct 23, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Melo should be playing a lot more defense!

  2. thomaskouns - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    His comments illustrate my main concern with Anthony. He is unwilling to change aspects of his game that would make him a much more effective player and winner nor is he willing to sacrifice for the team by doing what it takes (even if it is playing the 4 for the betterment of the team unless prodded to).

    Say what you want about Lebron, but he willingly guarded 4’s and 5’s and developed a post-up game.

    Anythony on the other hand, refuses to build on his game nor willingly sacrifice for wins unless persuaded to and essentially has the same game he did we he came out of Syracuse.

    For all the attention the Knicks last year, they were a slightly above 500 hundred team with two max players in the weaker conference. True superstars elevate their teams far beyond that.

  3. thedripfeed - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    As a life long die hard Knicks fan all I can say now is HELLO BROOKLYN

  4. bknowledge - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Best thing if Melo needs to play the 4 on offense? A 4 that can play the 2 on offense. A guy like Sam Perkins (best theoretical fit) or Bill Laimbeer who can shoot 3’s, rebound, and guard the post.

    Rasheed used to be that type of player…
    Josh Harrelson seemed to have the very raw skill set…

  5. eflem80 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    @ the dripfeed….if your saying “hello Brooklyn” now….you were NEVER a die hard Knick fan and as a true Knick fan all I can say now to you is GOOD RIDDANCE! The Knicks will be just fine and the Nets or as I like to call them “clippers east” will have plenty of bandwagoners early but they’ll fade by seasons end.

  6. airjunior23 - Oct 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    So you want a person who’s defense is already considered terrible to be mismatched defensively every night? Hmmmm…..I’m going to go ahead and object.

  7. fanz928 - Oct 23, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    If you play him at for what about stat you paid the guy 100 mil to be on the bench?

  8. thedripfeed - Oct 23, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    lol works everytime…..not going anywhere… hopefully the “wisdom” on this team holds up for an entire season…hopefully Shump comes back at full strength and plays lockdown D….hopefully Melo gets the Garden percolating by dishing, driving,dunking, and dominating….only time will tell

  9. libertynchurch - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Love Melo’s BullyBall game. But this kinda rubs me the wrong way. For the money that he makes, I would play ANY position, wash and wax the floors and drive the team bus! We all get that its your team Melo, but damn, be a little more careful about how you are perceived by the fans.

  10. nokoolaidcowboy - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:25 AM


    Right Coach Woody? Right? Coach Woody?

    *crickets chirping

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