The New York Knicks have struggled in the beginning of the season the last two years. They were 1-1 in October both years followed by a disappointing November. Last season they had an eight game losing streak in November. This season they are on a five game losing streak.
The biggest difference is in Carmelo Anthony’s scoring. We all know Carmelo Anthony is a big time scorer. People criticize his play making ability and defense but we all know he can score the ball. Last season the team struggled to win games but Carmelo was a big time scorer. He had a few 30 point games and even a 40 point game. In November he averaged 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
This season Carmelo can’t find his shot. He's only averaging 20 points per game. Not known for his efficiency he still shot 45% last season and 40% from three point land. This year he’s down to 39% and 30% from beyond the arc. His free throw shooting has dropped along with his rebounding. Last season he averaged about 7 free throws a game and he’s down to 4.6 this season.
Carmelo is averaging 21.8 shots per game which is about average for him. He’s not getting to the line like last season. He’s only had one game in which he took over eight free throws in a game. He’s shot over 50% in a game just twice but he has been under 40% four times.
I don’t know if it’s the triangle offense or the fact that Carmelo is trying to get others involved but he is averaging a career high in assists. I know it’s a small sample size of eight games but he’s had two games with at least seven assists. Last season Carmelo didn’t have seven assists in a game until January.
There is still time for Melo and the Knicks to turn things around. We all knew the Knicks would struggle but we didn’t expect Melo to look this bad. He dropped weight in the offseason and looked like he was in great shape.
Using the Shot tracker on NBA.com, Melo took more shots at less than 10 ft for the month of November. He took about 8.6 shots per game and hit at 54%.This season he’s only attempting 6.8 shots at less than 10 ft and is only hitting 46%. While being guarded tightly (2-4 feet) in the paint he is only hitting 34% this season, while he was at 42% last season.
Again using the shot tracker Melo is not hitting as many shots when he is being guarded very tight (0-2 feet) and tight (2-4 feet). Last season he was at 46% and 47% in those situations. This season he’s down to 40% and 38%.
Carmelo Anthony has to keep attacking the basket and try to get to the free throw line. The Knicks are dead last in points per game and free throw attempts per game. They are tied at 14th with the Bulls in opponents points per game. Their defense is good enough for them to win games but their offense needs a lot work. That all starts with Carmelo Anthony’s production.