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Phil Jackson on Carmelo Anthony: “It’s been a tough year for him”

Apr 4, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

Carmelo Anthony AP

Statistically, Carmelo Anthony used a higher percentage of his team’s possessions last season than this one — his usage percentage last season was a career-high 35.6, this season it’s 32.7, which is still second highest in the NBA behind Kevin Durant.

This is where context comes in (and why every advanced stats guy in the league watches games/film and uses that context — nobody just looks at the numbers alone). Last season Anthony got help from a team that spaced the floor to shoot threes better, plus had better individual years (J.R. Smith, for one, although he has picked it up lately scoring 20.4 points a game and shooting 45 percent from three in his last five games). Anthony’s numbers dropped over the course of games as defenses focused on him and dared any other Knick to beat them. For much of the season they couldn’t and the losses piled up, adding to Anthony’s burden.

Phil Jackson sees it. He sees Anthony working hard — and harder than anyone remembers on defense — and thinks he deserves credit for it.

Clearly Jackson’s talks with Anthony will lead toward the Knicks attempting to keep their star this summer. Jackson spoke about Anthony with ESPN.

“We’ve had a couple occasions to talk,” Jackson said at the team’s practice facility. “We haven’t really delved into the future as much as what’s gone on, getting to know each other type of thing. Trying to see how he’s feeling about playing.

“He’s had to carry a big load. It’s been a tough year for him. But it’s been a tough year for everyone. It’s not just isolated with him. But I think he feels the weight of it a lot more on himself.”

These kind of conversations are how Phil Jackson works — it’s about getting to know the player then subtly guiding that player to his way of seeing things. It’s about growth and not just as a basketball player but as a person. It’s something Anthony likely will respond well to.

As for the load, when Smith and company are helping out, when the three balls are falling (40 percent as a team the last five games and 39.2 over the last 15) then some of that burden is lifted. The Knicks offensive rating their last 15 games is up to 112.7 and that is winning them games.

And with that the Knicks are making a run that could well lead them to the playoffs (thanks to the Hawks collapse). That certainly would make this disaster of a season feel a little better. Jackson is there to bring hope for the future.

  1. kclanton80 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    I would bet its been a tougher year for his teammates.

  2. spillz121 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    You’d lose that bet

  3. bux1022 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    And you would bet that because?? By the way it better be a gentleman’s bet because you would lose! He’s the face of the franchise…he is the one that the criticism falls on.

  4. chicagosports2014 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    It gets better next season, when he come home phil.”

  5. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Come to Chicago Mello.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 4, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Please no! Long time Bulls fan here… used to sit in the old stadium and watch the A Train Artis Gilmore play center for the Bulls… (70’s for you youngin’s)

      The Bulls need to wait one more year for Kevin Love.

      Love actually has a higher career three point shooting percentage than Carmelo does.

      Love averages more rebounds per game that Shaq did in his career and it isn’t close (Love 13.5 per game, Shaq 10.9 per game and Love is like 6′ 10′, slow, can’t jump etc… and Shaq was 7′ 1″, powerful, unmovable and like 335 lbs give or take a small child)

      The unathletic Love averages more rebounds per game than Dwight super athletic freak Howard does in his career per game.

      Free throws? Well, Shaq and Dwight shot/shoot in the 50’s from the line, Love shoots over 80%

      Career PER

      Love 23.3
      Melo 21.2

      Career true shooting %

      Love .567%
      Melo .547%

      Oh yeah! Love will be 26 yrs old next yr and Melo will be 31 yrs old next season.

      Whichever team gets Love will have FIVE more years of play from Love BEFORE he reaches the age of Melo next season.

      • cruzan80 - Apr 4, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        Good thing the Bulls players (Joakim Noah & Derick Rose) & their GM are smarter than you are…hence the reason why their wisely gonna make a play for Carmelo Anthony this summer…a player who would actually improve their team…instead of a player who in 5 years has failed to do that in any which way shape or form.

        The Timberwolves sucked when Kevin Love got there & they’ve while he’s been there….THATS how impactful all those stats have been to that franchise….the “looter in a riot” effect.

        The Bulls need a scorer…period. It’s the one “flaw” the team has had…even WITH a healthy D. Rose. If they have a shot to acquire a 29 year old SF in his prime…who is arguably the best scorer in the entire league that is hungry for a title…you do it. Bulls fans know this… sound like you’re a bigger Melo hater than you are a Bulls fan right about now.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:29 PM


        the best “scorers” are those that are the MOST efficient at scoring.

        volume scorers who get a lot of points because they shoot a lot do not equate to being the best scorer in the league, even if they lead the league in scoring.

        Last yr (not this yr) when Melo lead the league in scoring (he’s not this yr we know), this is how he did it:

        He averaged 28.7 points a game last season on 22.2 shots a game.

        Durant averaged 28.1 points a game last season on 17.7 shots a game.

        Had Melo only taken 17.7 shots a game, he would have barely averaged more than 20 points a game.

        So NO, Melo is not arguably the best scorer in the league. He’s too inefficient shooting the ball.

        Love has a higher career true shooting percentage than Melo.

        And cruz, if you say the Bulls need points/scoring, well why not get someone who scores even MORE efficiently than Melo at a high volume too?

        Melo for his career averages 25.3 pts a game on 19.7 shots a game.

        Love for his career averages 19.1 pts a game on 14 shots a game.

        But, in Loves last two full seasons (this yr and 2 yrs ago as he basically missed all of last season due to his broken hand) Love has averaged the following:

        26.0 pts a game in BOTH seasons. One yr he average 19.3 shots a game to get his 26 pts and this yr he’s averaged 26 pts a game on 18.3 shots a game.

        So, if the Bulls need scoring they would be BETTER off with a man getting 26 pts a game for them on 18.3 shots a game than on a man getting 28 pts a game on 21.7 shots a game for them.

        Logic and numbers are more useful than feelings or who you like.

        Put it this way, in all the times the ball leaves Melo’s hands in NBA games when he is taking a shot, he scores less points per shot attempt than when Love shoots the ball.

        Melo is not close to being the best scorer. He scores A LOT because he shoots a lot and that does not make him or anyone the best scorer.

        It would be like a running back getting a lot of yards because they get a lot of carries but their yard per carry average is low. Does that make them the best? No, just used a lot or the most.

        I’ll take the running back who averages 4.5 yards an attempt over the back who averages 3.8 yards per carry.

  6. bux1022 - Apr 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Melo is going no where!Love is going to LA. Plain and simple! And as a bulls fan you first have to come to the realization that Derick Rose just became the next Grant Hill. Rose will be good again in 5 years when he makes it down to Phx to work with their training staff! Ha

  7. cantonbound13 - Apr 5, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Felton, Shumpert & Smith have been terrible this year. It also doesn’t help the Woodson is not a good coach.

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