Over at Hoopsworld, Tommy Beer has a nice piece about the improvements in Carmelo Anthony’s game this year. The bottom line is that by any metric, the Knicks are getting a career-year out of the perennial scoring machine:
Nearly every metric imaginable supports the suggestion that Anthony is reaching previously unattained heights. He is posting a career-high 26.7 PER; he’s never finished a season above 22.3. His true shooting percentage has hovered around 60 percent all year; his previous career best was 56.8 percent. His effective field goal percentage currently sits above 54 percent; his high as a Nugget was 51.1 percent.
Moreover, Carmelo is also taking better care of the ball, averaging a career-low 2.5 turnover per game. Yes, Anthony is currently scoring more than he ever has (29.3 ppg) while also committing fewer turnovers. That’s obviously an ideal combination.
Beer credits a lot of this evolution to the switch to power forward, which has allowed Anthony to take advantage of mismatches and cut down on the need for long-distance jumpers. It’s been well documented that Anthony has traded in a lot of his mid-range jumpers for three-pointers, while also shooting a career-high from beyond the arc, which is basically like taking something great and then covering it in awesome sauce, or maybe A-1.
Still, I’d be interested to hear how Anthony himself interprets this. Is it a matter of finding the right circumstance and supporting cast, a natural evolution from a maturing player, or a conscious change of approach? I don’t really know.
There’s no doubt that both the eyes and the evidence suggest we’re seeing the best Carmelo we’ve ever seen — and we’ve seen some pretty great Carmelos — but there’s also a part of me that still wonders how much of what we’re seeing is something new, or rather a great player finding a great situation among a supporting cast that compliments his skills that is allowing all of us to fully appreciate an array of gifts that have pretty much always been on display.
I don’t totally have an answer to that, though I suspect there’s an element of both, which, yes, is a copout, but still also very likely the truth.