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Just The Sports: Carmelo Anthony Has Played His Best Basketball For The New York Knicks

Just The Sports

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Carmelo Anthony Has Played His Best Basketball For The New York Knicks

There can be no arguing that the blockbuster trade that landed the New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has paid off in the short run. Not only did the Knicks improve as a team after the trade, but Anthony played the best basketball of his career for the franchise.

In the 54 games prior to Anthony's arrival on the Knicks' roster, the Knicks had only outscored their opponents by 0.4 points per 100 possessions, which is the make-up of a team barely above .500. Yet, all that changed after the trade.

Over the next 27 games, the Knicks played a much more efficient style of basketball, outscoring opponents by 2.0 points per 100 possessions; the last game of the season was not counted because Anthony did not appear in it. The Knicks were not playing elite basketball by any means, but they were significantly better than they had been before the trade.

A large part of the reason for the Knicks' improvement was the play of the true target of the blockbuster trade deal, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony easily outpaced what he had done for his previous team, the Denver Nuggets.

For the Nuggets this year in 50 games, he posted a true shooting percentage of 54.7 percent, produced 107 points per 100 possessions, and contributed 0.127 win shares per 48 minutes. Had he continued along that same track for the rest of the season, he would have had the fourth-worst season of his eight-year career.

However, he did not. His true shooting percentage jumped up to 57.5 percent, thanks in large part to him shooting an uncharacteristically high 42.4 percent from the three-point line; for his career, including those 27 games, Anthony has shot 32.0 percent on three-pointers.

Due mostly to his increased shooting efficiency, Anthony produced 114 points per 100 possessions and contributed 0.157 win shares per 48 minutes, which are superior to anything he has ever done over a full season.

Since Anthony's offensive proficiency is unlike anything he has ever accomplished in his career, it will probably be too much to expect for him to continue to play as well in the future as he did over those 27 games for the Knicks, but it has certainly been an extraordinarily good ride for Anthony and the Knicks so far.

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