The New York Knicks‘ offense has revolved around Carmelo Anthony since he arrived from the Denver Nuggets three years ago, but without the proper players surrounding him, his lack of movement on the court is a momentum killer for a team.
People have given Anthony a lot of credit this season for his league-leading 39.1 minutes per game. That alone is somewhat misleading given that five other players in the NBA have registered more total minutes this season — they’ve just played in more games which has lowered their per game average. But let’s not take away the fact that Anthony is out on the floor for all but about nine minutes per night for the Knicks, doing everything he possibly can to lead the team to victory.
What we can take away from this statistic, however, is another statistic that is very alarming for Knicks fans. Despite the fact that only five players have logged more total minutes than Anthony, 24 players in the NBA have tracked more mileage while on the court than the All-Star, according to player tracking data from NBA.com. Anthony has traveled 131.4 total miles this season for the Knicks, which sounds like a lot. But not when you compare it to someone like Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers who has traveled a league-leading 149.8 total miles this season. Or Chandler Parsons of the Houston Rockets, who in two fewer games than Anthony has traveled 140.6 miles this season. Both players, keep in mind, play the same position as Anthony.
For a player like Anthony, who touches the ball more than almost anybody in the NBA, the fact that he isn’t moving around the court more may be a big reason his teammates haven’t enjoyed much success this season. He isn’t making the players around him better. His inability to move without the ball forces his teammates to set up shop in the same spots every trip down the court, and his inability to facilitate on a regular basis gives his teammates few opportunities for easy baskets.
Anthony has logged a lot of minutes, yes, but according to this statistic, they’ve been very easy minutes.