Carmelo the reason for Knicks early season struggles?

11/24/13 in NBA   |   Raff5600   |   2 respect

Blog Photo - Carmelo the reason for Knicks early season struggles?Carmelo Anthony has been receiving a lot of heat for the New York Knicks early season slump. The Knicks have started out the season with a 3-8 record and have lost four games in a row and two games by more than 20 points. Fans are quickly putting Carmelo Anthony at blame for the Knicks struggles. Even though one the league's best offensive threats and last years leading scorer is averaging 26.1 points per game, Anthony's other offensive numbers are down. The six time all-star is shooting just 41.6 percent from the field which is under his career percentage and his player efficiency rating is 21.79 which is worse than Jordan Hill and Michael Beasley.  

So why are the Knicks struggling and why are Carmelo Anthony's offensive numbers down this year? One answer, Andrea Bargnani. 

When Anthony and Bargnani are on the floor together, the Knicks are a -53 and give up 109.6 points per 100 possessions to their opponents. That ranks them last in the league in defensive efficiency. As far as Carmelo's numbers, they take a dip too with Bargnani on the floor with him. When the 7 foot Italian star is on the court, Anthony only averages 21.8 points per 36 minuets but even worse he is shooting under 40 percent from the field. This brings Carmelo's PER all the way down to under 20. 

With Andrea Bargnani on the bench, Anthony's offensive numbers skyrocket. Anthony is averaging 27 points per 36 minuets while shooting 45 percent. His player efficiency rating then goes up to 26.3 which ranks him 7th in the league right behind Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. The numbers Anthony is putting up without Bargnani on the floor are similar to last season where he finished in 3rd place in the MVP voting. 

The New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony are both more successful when Andrea Bargnani is on the bench. The reason is when Bargnani is not on the floor, it allows Anthony to play the four, where he was very successful last season. With Anthony at the power forward, he sees a mismatch in his favor every night on the offensive side of the ball. But with Tyson Chandler, the Knicks best defender, still nursing that right leg injury, Bargnani has seen a lot more playing time.  Before Chandler's injury Bargnani was averaging 21 minuets per game. Since the all-star center went down, Bargnani is up to 33 minuets per game which is not good for the success of both the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony.

With the Knicks lacking any depth at the center position, Bargnani's minuets are going to continue to increase and Anthony's numbers are going to continue to suffer. The Knicks are going to have to weather the storm defensively as best they can until they get back the 2012 defensive player of the year. So when Knicks fans are saying they want Melo out because of his declining numbers, tell them it's Bargnani who needs to see less minuets. 
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