Carmelo ea­ger to start with im­proved Knicks

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian Ma­honey

Carmelo An­thony looks at the Knicks and sees real NBA tal­ent around him for the first time in a few years.

Carmelo An­thony couldn’t wait to get started.

Maybe that’s be­cause he looks at the New York Knicks and sees real NBA tal­ent around him for the first time in a few years.

Or per­haps it’s be­cause he knows his most suc­cess­ful sea­sons have come fol­low­ing the Olympics.

What­ever the rea­son, An­thony is talk­ing like some­one who be­lieves his team is go­ing back to the play­offs — and maybe go­ing far once they get there.

“Like I said yes­ter­day, I haven’t been ex­cited like this in a long time to ac­tu­ally get go­ing and ready to cre­ate some­thing,” An­thony said af­ter the Knicks held their first prac­tice.

The Knicks haven’t been ex­cit­ing at all re­cently. An­thony had never missed the post­sea­son un­til New York fell just short in 2014, and now he’s been shut out three straight years. The Knicks tum­bled to a 17-65 fin­ish two years ago, when An­thony was lim­ited to 40 games be­fore knee surgery, and went 32-50 last sea­son.

An­thony of­ten tried to carry the scor­ing load him­self dur­ing those last two sea­sons, but he doesn’t see a need now. The Knicks traded for Der­rick Rose, signed play­ers such as Joakim Noah, Court­ney Lee and Bran­don Jen­nings, and ex­pect big things from Kristaps Porzingis af­ter his All-Rookie cam­paign.

An­thony has re­peat­edly said how ex­cited he is to play with Rose, who be­lieves he can make the game eas­ier for the 32-year-old for­ward.

“He’s been here the long­est, he’s went through a lot of things here, ex­pe­ri­enced a lot, so this is his team,” Rose said. “Me and Jo — I can only speak about me and Joakim — we’re com­ing in here, we’re bat­tle-tested. Our job is to make his job as easy as pos­si­ble and if it’s sac­ri­fic­ing, it’s sac­ri­fic­ing. What­ever he wants us to do, we’re go­ing to do it. We don’t want no prob­lems, we just want to win.”

The only time An­thony’s done that lately is in the Olympics.

He won his third gold and fourth medal over­all in Rio, both records for a men’s bas­ket­ball player. While most play­ers crave a break af­ter the long NBA sea­son, An­thony said he was “in the best shape that I’ve felt in a long time” af­ter play­ing this sum­mer.

Olympic com­pe­ti­tion has pro­vided him with a

An­thony hosted most of the ros­ter in Puerto Rico over the sum­mer for bas­ket­ball and bond­ing, so he’s got­ten to know his team­mates off the court.

boost be­fore.

The 2008-09 sea­son, af­ter his first gold medal, re­mains his most suc­cess­ful team sea­son as a pro. He had never even won a play­off se­ries be­fore lead­ing Den­ver to the West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals, av­er­ag­ing 27.2 points in 16 games be­fore the Nuggets were elim­i­nated by the even­tual cham­pion Los An­ge­les Lak­ers.

He didn’t win an­other se­ries un­til 2013, com­ing off his sec­ond gold medal in Lon­don. He led the NBA with 28.7 points per game in car­ry­ing the Knicks to the At­lantic Divi­sion ti­tle and even­tu­ally the East semi­fi­nals.

He didn’t do it alone back then, with Chauncey Billups in the back­court in Den­ver, and Tyson Chan­dler and Amare Stoudemire in the front­court in New York. The Knicks be­lieve this team, like those, is filled with play­ers who will earn An­thony’s trust.

“We’re hop­ing that, again, the level of tal­ent that is on the team will lead to him not think­ing, ‘I have to do ev­ery­thing,”’ coach Jeff Hor­nacek said.

An­thony hosted most of the ros­ter in Puerto Rico over the sum­mer for bas­ket­ball and bond­ing, so he’s got­ten to know his team­mates off the court. He likes what he sees. “I don’t know how great we can be,” An­thony said. “I don’t want to put kind of no ceil­ing on that, but we con­trol our own des­tiny at this point.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.