Knicks hope summer additions lessen the burden on Carmelo Anthony

Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek would like to see Carmelo Anthony run the floor in pursuit of easy baskets this season for the New York Knicks.

“A lot of times he has a penchant to take the ball himself up the court and slow the play down, the development down, by pushing the ball up the court himself or taking the inbound pass,” team president Jackson said Friday. “Those are some of the small things that we asked to look at and maybe we could change. With the outstanding guard corps that we have -- Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, guys who can really push the ball at a certain level -- I think he’s going to be much more comfortable allowing them to do what they’re best at.”

Anthony averaged 1.1 fast-break points per game last season, per NBA.com. That number is down from the 1.7 fast-break points per game he averaged in 2013-14.

Hornacek, set to begin his first season as Knicks coach, added that he hopes the addition of Rose, who is facing a civil suit alleging sexual assault and a criminal investigation, and Jennings eases the scoring burden on Anthony.

“We’re hoping that the level of talent that is on the team will lead to him not thinking, ‘I have to do everything,’” Hornacek said. “He’s a great passer. He’s made great passes in some of these games that we’ve seen. I think when he has that trust in his teammates, he’s going to make those passes, and we’re going to get easy buckets.”

Hornacek and Jackson also said they’d discussed different ways Anthony can score around the basket.

According to NBA.com, Anthony shot 41 percent from between zero and 2 feet last season. In 2013-14, he shot 44 percent from the same range.

His shot attempts that were blocked increased from 0.9 in 2013-14 to 1.1 last season.

“I think that rule of verticality that came in two years ago is something that had an effect,” Hornacek said. “He’s learning different things. Talking with one of the guys he works out with, we kind of talked about, 'Hey, work on that finishing around the basket.' It might not be where you’re pounding into the guy, but you’re getting the shot off quicker. So Carmelo’s working on some of those things.”

GM Steve Mills added that Anthony has been very receptive to the suggestions made by Hornacek and management.

“He’s very willing to listen,” Mills said. “And when you sit and talk to him about his finishing percentages, when you talk with him about things he has to change, he’s a very receptive guy to things like that, especially if he thinks that it’s going to help him improve.”

Phil: Joakim here to "shore up defense": Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said recently that Joakim Noah was no longer a front-line player, which contributed to Chicago’s decision to let the big man leave in free agency. Jackson said Friday that he isn’t concerned about Reinsdorf’s label for the 31-year-old whom the Knicks inked to a four-year, $72 million deal.

“I think that Joakim was one of the top vote-getters for MVP three years ago. Is that right? Defensive Player of the Year? Those are some pretty high standards. I think that perhaps Jerry was talking about that level of play that Joakim had at age 28, 29 and then suffered plantar fasciitis that year and played through it,” Jackson said. “I don’t see that talent diminishing that much over the course of the year. Shoulder injury, that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be healthy. ... I do see that he is getting [older], things are going to fall off a little bit for him, I don’t think that is going to keep him from being a competitor. I still think he will be one of the top-notch centers in the league.

“Whether he is the top center in the league or an All-Star, maybe that is how they looked at it as an organization [in Chicago]. That is not how we look at it,” Jackson added. “We looked at it as someone we want to have here to shore up our defense and give guys a certain sense of cemented base defensively. Someone back there supporting.”

Hornacek will use triangle: Hornacek reiterated that he plans to incorporate the triangle offense this season for the Knicks.

“We’re going to blend,” he said. “We want to use our defense to trigger that early offense. We’ll open it up that way in the early part of it. But in the half court, we’re going to have a lot of aspects of the triangle. It’s not very much different than the offense we ran in Utah a long time ago. Just a way to space the floor, get these guys in positions where they can be successful, and again ... once these guys learn to play with each other, and trust each other, and make extra passes that way and share the ball, there’s going to be plenty of shots for everybody.”