By Dave Holcomb, Contributing Writer
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – NBA fans have been so concentrated on the so-called “decline” of play from LeBron James, the shooting blues of Carmelo Anthony have gone relatively unnoticed.
But Anthony owners are on high-alert now because as they say in fantasy, after something happens more than twice, it starts to become a trend. Owners really would not like Anthony’s recent play to become the norm.
Anthony had his third straight poor shooting night on Friday, hitting just 5-of-20 shots. Usually that means disaster for Anthony in the points category as well because the Knicks draw the least amount of foul shots per game in the league. Luckily on Friday against the Nets, Anthony was able to get to the line nine times and hit eight of them.
So despite the poor shooting, Anthony managed 19 points, which is still below his career average, but not dreadful. In the previous game though, he scored just 13 points, going 5-for-21 versus the Pistons.
Over the last three games, Anthony has averaged fewer than 20 points and has missed 46 shots, shooting just 28 percent from the field. What is going on?
For one, the seven-time All Star is in a new offense. The Knicks are transitioning to the triangle offense under new coach Phil Jack … I mean … Derek Fisher.
The triangle requires all five players to be constantly moving without the ball and reacting to the defense. That’s quite a bit different from the isolation offense Carmelo Anthony team’s have run since he was probably five- years old.
James told the media this week in regards to the Cavaliers early struggles, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That seems to apply to Anthony as well.
There, however, seems to be more to Anthony’s problems than just adjusting to a new offense. Over the last five games, Anthony is shooting just 76 percent from the free-throw line. Again, not dreadful but that is five percent lower than his career average.
Fans can banter all they want that the triangle doesn’t suit Anthony’s skill set or that the 30-year-old hasn’t completely bought into the system, but at the free-throw line, there are no geometrical shapes. There is just a straight line from the shooter’s eye to the hoop, and Anthony’s line is a bit crooked at the moment.
As fans have seen with “King James”, every player slumps from time to time. By no means should any fantasy owners give up on Anthony after six games. He is much too good a scorer to stay down for long. Anthony has also contributed in other areas despite the shooting troubles: 5.0 apg and 5.3 rpg in the last three games.
As far as scoring, fantasy owners will have to count on Anthony getting to the line more often until he comes out of his shooting slump and/or the Knicks grow more comfortable with the new offense.