When the New York Knicks decided to acquire Carmelo Anthony on February 21, 2011, they thought his addition would help them contend for a championship, but to this point the experiment has failed.
The Knicks were 28-26 when they decided to pull the trigger on the trade with the Denver Nuggets that would send Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman to the Knicks in return for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks’ 2014 first-round draft pick, the Golden State Warriors’ 2012 and second-round picks and $3 million in cash.
Following the trade, the Knicks finished the 2011 regular season winning half of their remaining games en route to a 42-40 record and a quick 4-0 first round exit by the Boston Celtics. In a condensed 2012 season, the Knicks ended their regular season with a 36-30 record and won just one playoff game against the Miami Heat in the first round before losing the series 4-1.
Anthony averaged 26.3 points and 6.7 rebounds with a 42.4-percent three-point shooting percentage in 2011 with the Knicks. He followed up the 2012 season with an average of 22.6 points and 6.3 rebounds with a 33.5-percent three point shooting percentage.
In the 2012 Olympics, Anthony was forced to come off of the bench behind Lebron James and Kevin Durant, but he proved to be more effective, averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.5 steals while shooting 50-percent from three-point range and 53-percent from the field. He also broke the U.S. Olympic record for most points in a game with 37 while setting three-point records for made and attempted shots with 10 and 12, respectively.
“A lot of it had to do with him getting so many open looks and he was just shooting lights out,” said Ian Begley. “What happened was you’d have a Chris Paul or Lebron James do a dribble drive to suck in the defense and Carmelo was hanging out on the perimeter and taking advantage of those open looks and knocking them down and he did a lot of damage. If he can play with anywhere near the level of efficiency for the Knicks that he did in the Olympics, the Knicks will be in good shape.”
Anthony along with James joined David Robinson to become the only three-time U.S. Olympians to play basketball, but Anthony could become the first four-time U.S. Olympian if he decided to play in four years.
“I think it’s possible,” Begley said. “At 32 years old, he’ll have a lot of mileage as far as how many years he’s been in the NBA. I think he’ll be a 13-year or 14-year veteran at that point, but it’s certainly possible. If you look at it four years from now, maybe he doesn’t have to play a huge role on that team. Maybe he can go over there and give the team 10-15 minutes a night and things could work out.”
As for the Knicks this season, getting Anthony to duplicate his Olympic production will be tough, considering the talent difference between the Knicks and Team USA, but better production from the Knicks’ point guards will be the key on how effective the Knicks’ offense will be.
“It depends really on how well the Knicks point guards can figure things out and how much Mike Woodson decides to use Carmelo Anthony both in isolation and at the power forward spot.”