When Carmelo Anthony was traded from the New York Knicks to the Oklahoma City Thunder back in September. Many believed the Knicks were getting the short end of the deal. Eight weeks into the season, it looks like the Knicks may have won this trade. Not because of the quality of players, but how they fit into each teams roster. On Saturday, Carmelo Anthony returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time since the trade.
Trouble Down Thunder: Carmelo Anthony Returns to New York
Many fans were sad to see Carmelo Anthony leave the New York Knicks. Not only because of how long he’d been there, but because he had become a perennial fan favorite. Specifically for his love of New York and his desire to be traded to the Knicks. After two months of NBA play it seems like the Thunder aren’t that much better off with Carmelo Anthony on their roster.
Leading into Saturday’s game between the Knicks and Thunder, New York will have the better record. This is something no fan would have believed leading into the season. After their opening night loss to the Thunder, the Knicks looked like an unorganized bunch. Ironically the Thunder seem to be the ones in disarray while the Knicks continue to improve.
The New Knicks
Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott have turned out to be two key reasons to the Knicks surprising start this year. McDermott is shooting a career high 49 percent from the field. He’s also shooting 40 percent from three point range, which is the second highest of his career. He’s been one of the most reliable bench players this season. Kanter is also enjoying a career season, shooting the highest field goal percentage of his career at 60 percent. He’s also averaging a double-double, something he hasn’t done since joining the Thunder late in the 2014-15 season.
Carmelo Anthony’s Struggles
Carmelo Anthony is averaging a career low in points at this juncture in the season at 18. He’s no longer the number one guy on his team, which is definitely a factor to the decrease in points. However, Anthony is shooting a career low in field goal and free throw percentages respectively. These struggles have definitely added to the Thunder’s slow start. Anthony is averaging 16 shots per game. He’s also averaging a career low four free throw attempts per game, which is definitely one of the major factors to why he isn’t scoring as many points this season.
Carmelo Anthony plays a very specific style of basketball. When he gets the ball he plays in isolation, which slows down the pace and makes it easy for his team to suffer long scoring droughts. This was evident when he played with the Knicks. Now that he’s gone, the culture and style of play has effectively changed for the better. Part of this change had to do with Phil Jackson‘s departure. However, Anthony isn’t innocent.
Regardless of the outcome from Saturday night’s game, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott seem to be a solid foundation to build a future with. In the Thunder’s case, it’s unclear whether Carmelo Anthony will be part of their future. Anthony hasn’t shown constant success in the NBA and it’s unclear whether he can make a push this late in his career for a title. The Knicks seem to be in a better position without Anthony. Although, the Thunder struggles don’t all lie on Anthony’s shoulders. It begs to question how the Thunder would be doing had another player been acquired instead of Carmelo Anthony.
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