NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony is well known as one of the top scorers in the NBA. But his detractors say he doesn’t do enough in the other facets of the game -- rebounding, defense, passing -- to be considered a top all-around player.
Ex-Knicks president Donnie Walsh thinks the triangle offense can change all of that.
“He can do everything. But most teams look at him to score, so he scores,” Walsh said in an interview with Sirius XM’s Adam Schein. “I think he can rebound. I think he can play defense when he wants to -- I’ve seen it. He can rebound. I think he can pass the ball. Pretty much, he can do any of the skills required to play in that offense. And I think that will bring that out in him.”
Anthony’s first season in the triangle didn’t prove Walsh’s theory. He was hobbled by a knee injury for much of the season, but his shooting percentage and rebounds per game were down from the previous season. His defensive rating decreased as well.
It will be interesting to see how Anthony, 30, plays in his second year in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. He will be coming off major knee surgery.
Some NBA personnel question whether the triangle fits today’s NBA. The offense produces a significant amount of midrange jump shots -- the type of shot top offenses try to avoid.
Walsh, however, is a fan of the triangle.
“I think it can bring the best out of teams but you have to have some patience with it so teams can get [the hang] of it,” Walsh said.
The Pacers executive left New York due in part to a difference in philosophy with owner James Dolan. But he said Dolan and Jackson can build a winner in New York. He has confidence that Jackson will bring in players in free agency, though Walsh cautioned that New York isn’t the big draw that some believe it to be.
“That’s one of the most misunderstood things in the NBA, to be honest with you, that you can talk a veteran NBA player into coming to a city just by sitting down with him, talking to him and offering him the most money,” Walsh said. “These guys know what they want to do. They have their own agendas, and they know whether they want to go to New York or they don’t want to go to New York. And there are a lot that want to go to New York, so it isn’t like there aren’t people out there. ... I don’t think it’s really up to Phil Jackson to talk them into it."
Kidd says Melo can be magnet for FAs: The Knicks will have at least $25 million to spend in free agency this summer. Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd, who played one season with Anthony in New York, believes Anthony can attract talent to the Knicks.
“Melo is a talented player; he's a great guy on and off the floor,” Kidd said. “So I wouldn't see that there would be problems with guys coming in to play [with him]."
Kidd added of Carmelo: “Playing with him as a teammate, he was a guy that showed up every night, wanted the ball late. So when you have guys like that it makes the game easier.”
One potential Knicks’ free agent target is Khris Middleton. The restricted free agent said that all options will be on the table when he reaches free agency this summer and that he hasn’t thought about the decision during the season.
The Bucks will have the right to match any offers to Middleton.
Fisher bullish on Knicks: Fisher expanded on his quotes from Thursday, when he stated that he thought the Knicks could be a 63-win team next season.
“I think my point was just that whatever it is you need in order to make the jump, we have it. So we just have to make the choices that need to be made and commit to the process of doing so,” he said. “The cap space is there, the draft pick will be there unfortunately yet fortunately, and it’s up to us to do what we need to do with it and continue to work harder and getting better.”
“We took that example to highlight to our players to try and avoid those situations as much as they can,” Fisher said.
Tragic number is 3: The Knicks lost to Milwaukee on Friday night; Minnesota lost to the Lakers. New York remains one game ahead of the Timberwolves in the race for sole possession of the NBA's worst record with three games to play. The team with the worst record is guaranteed a top-4 pick in June's draft and has the best chance (25 percent) of landing the top pick.