Last but not least on our analysis of the 2012 ESPN NBA Player Ranking is the New York Knicks’ most prolific and dynamic scoring option, Carmelo Anthony.
Coming into last season, Anthony was ranked at #12 and has fallen to #17 this season after a disappointing campaign. Notable players who have jumped ahead of Anthony are Tony Parker (#16), Andrew Bynum (#13), Rajon Rondo (#12), and Russell Westbrook (#9).
Although I agree that this ranking is fair, there should be an asterisk by this ranking as well.
Last season not only did Anthony battle injuries himself but his teammates (Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin) suffered injuries at significant points in the season. On top of this Anthony’s offense was inconsistent this season because of a truncated training camp affected the chemistry and continuity between Stoudemire and Anthony.
My advice to Anthony is to take this ranking personal.
If this was a ranking of the best offensive players in the league he would be in the top 3 easily. I’m not saying that the Knicks need Anthony to drop 40 or 50 points a night but he does need to start playing on a more consistent basis this season.
This means more consistency on offense and defense. With Anthony’s length, basketball IQ, and quickness there’s no reason why Anthony can’t be an above average defender in the league today. Which tells us the problem is a lack of effort and motivation.
But it seems that after winning gold with the USA basketball team this summer, Anthony is on the right path and is looking for a successful 2012-2013 campaign:
“Every time I come back and play USA basketball, my mindset is a lot different,” Anthony said. “The team-oriented atmosphere I bring back to my team, the focus I have, my conditioning, and carrying that into the regular season, it’s like I’m getting an early start. Look at what happened the year after we won the gold medal. In 2009 I had one of my best seasons with Denver and we went to the Western Conference finals. My body felt great, my mind felt great – and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind coming out of USA Basketball.”
The only way the Knicks will be able to put his hard work to good use is to work on getting Anthony and Stoudemire comfortable with one another in the post. The New York brass already sought to this and hired Hakeem Olajuwon to work with both these All-Star forwards–a very wise move on their part.
Despite dropping in the ESPN rankings, Anthony will be one of the bigger surprises this season because of the successful offseason transactions, a full training camp under Mike Woodson, and improved post plays from the Knicks’ front court players.