Melo: Fewer shots until 'time to go'

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Sunday, October 19, 2014

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony doesn't expect to win the NBA scoring title this season, his first in the triangle offense.

In fact, he suggested Saturday that he may score less and take fewer shots in the Knicks' new offense.

"I don't think I'll be the scoring champ. Especially with this system, the way we're playing -- the way that it's going to be well-balanced, the style of play we're going to have, I don't think I'll have to lead the league in scoring this year," Anthony said after the Knicks' practice.

Anthony has established himself as one of the top scorers in the NBA over his 11 seasons in the league. He won the scoring title in 2012-13 by averaging 28.7 points per game, two-tenths fewer than his career high. Last season, he finished second to Kevin Durant.

Anthony has averaged 21.8 field goal attempts per game over the past two seasons. He suggested that number, along with his scoring, may dip this season thanks to the triangle offense, which the Knicks hope will produce quality shots for Anthony's teammates.

"I think shots will be fewer," Anthony said. "I think it will be more effective shots. So if that means taking fewer shots, then that's what's going to happen.

"But I really don't know. We've been playing preseason; it's still early. It's not until you get in the flow of the game that you start knowing the minutes you're going to play, knowing the group you're going to be out there with most of the time. Until you find that rhythm, you're not going to really understand."

It's anyone's guess as to how the triangle will impact Anthony's scoring. For what it's worth, the offense under Phil Jackson produced 10 scoring champions in 20 seasons (Michael Jordan 7; Kobe Bryant 2; Shaquille O'Neal 1).

It's also worth noting that Anthony predicted that he'd score less prior to the season in which he won the scoring title.

Nonetheless, it sounds like Anthony's looking forward to shouldering less of the scoring burden for the Knicks. He knows, however, that the ball will be his in crunch time.

"What I like so far is, throughout the game you don't have to really focus on getting me the ball or me trying to score in bunches or just coming down and throwing the ball to me and everybody just watching," Anthony said. "Everybody will be part of the game; everybody will feel like they have something to do with the game.

"And then, when it comes down to it, I think we all know that when it's time for me to go to work, it's time for me to go to work. But for the most part, it's different because whereas before I was trying to start off in the first quarter and end it in the fourth quarter, now I can just play my position, play my part and get everybody involved, and when it's time to go it's time to go."

Anthony said being known as one of the top scorers in basketball can be a "lose-lose" situation because some will equate scoring with selfish play.

"It's fine," he said. "I don't read it. I don't think about it. Just to know that perception ... if that's what you do best is score, they'll say that's all you can do. Lead the league in assists, you're too unselfish. It's kind of a lose-lose situation. You've just got go out there and just play ball."

Anthony averaged a career-high 38.7 minutes last season under Mike Woodson. New coach Derek Fisher hinted Saturday that he'd be judicious in his use of Anthony this season.

"It's a luxury to have [a scorer like Anthony], you just can't abuse it, like any luxury," Fisher said. "So it's important that we understand that we have one of the great players in the game that is capable of carrying a team and doing a lot of work for us. But it's not in his best interest or the team's best interest to constantly rely on that gift, because it truly is a gift.

"As a coach, it feels good to know you have a guy like that, willing to play that role for you and capable of it. But at the same time, you have to be mindful of not taking advantage of it."

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