NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have won four of five, and some people are confused.
Are they tanking for a top pick in June’s draft?
Are they trying to make a run at the 8th seed in the East?
(You can stop laughing now.)
We’ll get answers to those questions in the coming weeks and months.
For now, a more pertinent question is this: are we watching Carmelo Anthony develop into a leader?
According to Derek Fisher, that’s exactly what’s happening.
“I think Carmelo is continuing to find out more and more how capable he really is. Not just statistically leading his team, but emotionally, psychologically, guys are following him,” Fisher said after the Knicks won for the fourth time in five games with a 100-92 win.
Anthony sat out for two weeks earlier this month to rest his injured left knee. Since his return, the Knicks have won four of the five games he’s played in.
During his absence, New York lost six in a row amid a 16-game losing streak.
“He’s setting a tone out there,” Fisher said of Anthony. “He’s playing defense. He’s doing a lot of things that are forcing guys to get to his level.”
If Fisher’s assessment is accurate, this could be a significant development for the Knicks.
In the past, Carmelo has at times been at his best when surrounded by veteran leadership (Chauncey Billups in Detroit and in his first season in New York; Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby with the 2012-13 Knicks).
But now that Anthony is under contract for five more years, it’s logical for the Knicks to turn to him to lead in the locker room.
J.R. Smith recently made an interesting observation about Anthony’s leadership style when compared to that of LeBron James.
“[Anthony] is more of an ‘I’ll show you,’ as opposed to Bron is more of an ‘I’ll tell you, then I’ll show you,” Smith told reporters in Cleveland.
Anthony has talked about his approach to leadership in the past.
“For me, it’s letting everyone know what the deal is," Anthony said in October 2013. “If I see something that’s wrong, I try to correct it as a unit. If I see something right, I give a pat on the back and keep moving.”
Knicks to sign Thomas for rest of season: The Knicks will sign Lance Thomas to a contact for the rest of the season, league sources told ESPN New York.
Thomas, who was on his second 10-day contract, had 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting and grabbed five rebounds in the Knicks’ win over Oklahoma City.
He’s scored in double figures in three straight games.
After the game, Fisher said it was “very important” for the team to re-sign Thomas and Lou Amundson. Amundson’s second 10-day contract is set to expire Thursday.
The Knicks have to either sign him for the rest of the season or let him test free agency.
Hardaway Jr. motivated by slight: Tim Hardaway Jr. had 14 second-half points to help the Knicks hold off Russell Westbrook (40 points) and earn a win over the Thunder.
Afterward, Hardaway Jr. was asked if he was motivated by being left out of the Rookie-Sophomore Game this season. Hardaway Jr. played in the game last season.
“It’s obviously motivation but you have to just go out there and compete,” Hardaway Jr. said. “I think the assistant coaches or whatever they pick the team so it is what it is and I’m going to keep playing the game I play.”
The format for the Rookie-Sophomore game is new this season. It is a team of American players in their first and second seasons against International players.
Assistant coaches voted on the teams.