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With recent news of Carmelo Anthony being left out of the upcoming season’s promotions, his role may be different from what some fans expected.
The New York Knicks for the first time in years actually have a balance of youth and depth on their roster. For now, Carmelo Anthony is still expected to suit up in orange and blue this season, but a trade remains the inescapable outcome for both parties.
Until said inevitable future trade occurs though, his role may be much different from what fans expected.
Many fans can agree that at this point, it’s reasonable to cut into Anthony’s minutes in order to focus on developing newer and younger players, while still having their best player play.
But in what way would this be exactly?
As crazy as it may seem, the best option would be having him coming off the bench as sixth man. It becomes a win-win down the stretch, as well as the beginning of the season.
In the long run, the Knicks will be able to see rookies Frank Ntilkina and Dameyan Dodson, whose abilities would be tested as they see fit.
In the short-term, the Knicks losing their early games only helps their draft prospects. Also, this would potentially force Anthony to explore his options, and somewhere that is not named Houston.
Last year, the Knicks’ starting five seemed decent on paper at least. Carmelo played 74 games, but the New York Knicks still only managed 31 wins.
Last season he was averaging 34 minutes a game in his 14th year in the league. Is it realistic to expect this amount of time on the court for much more than two or three seasons, at best?
Should Carmelo remain a starter or become a sixth man?
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The answer is maybe, but more than likely not in a Knicks uniform. For those who couldn’t tell, Anthony was flustered last year under Phil Jackson. Cutting his minutes down to somewhere between 20-25 per game surely will hurt his attitude. However, there is a fine line between punishment and just doing what makes sense. The Knicks are long shot playoff contenders, shooting for an eighth seed in the Eastern Conference at best.
The question becomes what good does Carmelo serve the starting five if the Knicks are still losing games, as well as losing ample time to develop a younger player into his role whenever he does leave the Garden?
With that being said, if Carmelo is truly hungry for playing time elsewhere, this may be the most effective strategy for him to widen his destination wish list over the sole target of Houston.
The New York Knicks were 24th in the league last year in plus/minus at -3.7. This at times still deemed them watchable and kept many games close. As tough of a pill as it may be to swallow, some fans may be more excited to hear chants of “KUZ” if Mindaugas Kuzminskas saw more minutes over Melo.
If starting a younger player is too much of a risk, surely that is why the Knicks picked up Michael Beasley this summer as a likely insurance plan when Melo skips town.
That way, there is some type of veteran status at the 3- or 4-spot — much like the Knicks having veteran status with Joakim Noah and the young Willy Hernangomez under his wing, or even more recently, Tim Hardaway Jr. embracing a leadership role with Frank Ntilkina.