One of the myriad of reasons why Mike Woodson finds himself in the enviable position of coaching the Eastern All-Star team is his creative use of the team’s best player, Carmelo Anthony (you may not have needed the name, unless you are the one guy who thinks the team’s best player is hands down Pablo Prigioni). Eager to maximize Melo’s myriad of gifts, Woodson has found lots of ways for him to score, utilizing his considerable post-up talents and using him as the facilitator in the pick and roll, something that has been particularly effective this season, as writes Jared Zwerling at ESPN New York:
While he’s been in isolation setups 29.4 percent of the time, he’s averaging 0.879 points per play. But while he’s been the pick-and-roll ball handler 10.4 percent of the time, he’s averaging 0.964 points per play — sixth best in the NBA (minimum 100 possessions).
In fact, Anthony has been practicing the two-man game with Tyson Chandler dating back to last season. Melo was third in the league in points per play as the pick-and-roll ball handler last year. But he ran the play only 133 times. So far this season, he’s already up to 110.
There really just hasn’t been a whole lot to complain about with Carmelo’s game this year, though I suppose we must keep trying. Obviously, all the different ways they’re utilizing him is exciting, but I also think it is somewhat underappreciated just how hard Melo plays. I know, it’s not always there on the defensive end, but the guy is a grinder with his offense, and the way he attacks his misses has really impressed me this year. He takes a real beating out there every night, and never takes one off. You do have to admire that, or at least I do.