Melo’s Passing Beating Double Teams

Brian DiMenna

Rob Mahoney flags the above video in his excellent article about Carmelo Anthony’s offensive reinvention this season that has him scoring more efficiently than at any other point his career.

There’s been much written about why we’re seeing a better Anthony this season — though it’s worth noting that the “old” Melo was also pretty damn good — from his decision, conscious or otherwise, to eschew long two-pointers for threes, to a better supporting cast and a general maturation as a player, but I definitely think the way in which he’s burning double teams this year with decisive passes has been my favorite development.

Interestingly enough, Melo is on pace to set a career low in assists, but just relying on that is to miss the point. If there was one thing I found especially frustrating about Carmelo a season ago, it was his tendency to bleed the shot clock as he tried to work his way free for a mid-range jumper no matter what the defense presented.

Now, it didn’t help that he also just didn’t shoot particularly well last season, perhaps hindered by a nagging wrist injury, but there was little quite as frustrating as one of those 15-second “let’s try every jab step ever conceived of” tap dances that ended with a bricked jumper and an empty possession. I’m sure Melo might argue, “What you want me to do, kick it out to Landry Fields?” And, you know, right, not really.

So whether he just realized it was a part of his game that needed to improve, or better players around him are inspiring more confidence, the key to me has been Melo’s decisiveness. When doubles come, he’s either attacking, or quickly kicking the ball out for open teammates and all those wide-open threes.

The results have been, yeah, the best year of Anthony’s career, a legitimate shot at the MVP and the best Knicks team in a generation. All things that are awesome on their own, but even better when grouped in the same sentence.

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