NEW YORK -- By and large, great scorers love great point guards. Carmelo Anthony is no different.
“I don’t think there’s anything like playing with great PGs,” he said late Saturday night.
That’s one reason Anthony is pleased to see Jose Calderon back on the court.
“Jose knows how to run an offense, especially an offense like this," Anthony said. "He can shoot the ball, he can spread the court. But most importantly, his IQ out there on the basketball court, I thin,k is very high. That’s something that, at that position, we’ve been missing.”
Anthony makes a good point. If there’s one position that requires a high IQ in the Knicks’ new triangle offense, it’s the lead guard.
Calderon, who has 10 years of NBA experience, should help organize the Knicks’ offense now that he’s back on the floor.
New York ranks 19th in the NBA in points scored per possession. The club can use Calderon’s steady hand and perimeter shooting (44.9 percent from beyond the arc last season) to help ease the pressure off Anthony and create open looks for others.
On Saturday night, Calderon tallied three points and three assists in 21 minutes in his season debut.
He jokingly apologized to his teammates about his conditioning -- or lack thereof -- during the game.
“I know you guys want some lobs,” he told his teammates on the bench, “but I don’t have it yet.”
If all goes well for the Knicks, Calderon will get back in game shape shortly and help the team rebound from a 4-10 start. He missed the season's first 13 games with a calf strain.
On Saturday night, Calderon was on the floor while New York built an early lead that bubbled to 21 points in the second half. The Knicks held off a late Philadelphia 76ers' rally to win.
Afterward, Iman Shumpert talked about the impact Calderon can have on the team.
“He doesn’t rush things, he never looks rattled ... Nothing really bothers him,” Shumpert said. “He knows there’s always another game, there’s always another possession, there’s always another quarter. He just thinks about the next play. It keeps everybody calm.”
Calderon was fourth in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio last season, with a 3.66:1. His experience and ability to protect and distribute the ball should help the Knicks' offense late in games. That’s no slight to Shane Larkin, but it’s clear Calderon will be an upgrade for New York.
One issue potential issue for the Knicks?
Calderon has never been a strong defender, so it’s unclear how his return impacts the Knicks on that end of the floor. New York entered play ranked 28th in points allowed per possession.
His greatest impact with this Knicks team might be less tangible, though.
“He's a guy that kind of bonds people together," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said.
Aside from re-signing Anthony, the trade for Calderon was Knicks president Phil Jackson’s key acquisition. Now, Jackson and the Knicks hope a healthy Calderon can help turn the season around.
For what it's worth, Calderon seemed optimistic after one night.
“Better things are coming, for sure,” he said.
Question: What kind of an impact do you think Jose Calderon will have on the Knicks?
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