Saturday morning (and for me, this was early Saturday morning) I spent about a half hour talking basketball with Three Shades of Blue Radio (my interview starts around the 30 minute mark of the show). Our conversation touched on (among other topics) the details of Wins Produced, the impact of intangibles, and line-up analysis. One should note, I am talking in my house before 8am on a Saturday morning (this might be obvious since we start with a discussion of the weather!). Despite the early hour, I had fun.
This morning I wasn’t talking basketball. But I was reading about a topic we touched upon Saturday morning. As I noted, players like Rudy Gay and Carmelo Anthony tend to be overrated by traditional analysts. And to illustrate this point, here is what I read from Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake City Tribune.
(Phil) Jackson’s first two major tasks will likely involve hiring a new head coach and re-signing Carmelo Anthony.
… Once he lines up a new coach, Jackson will turn his attention to Anthony, who has already declared he plans to opt out of his contract this summer,
One of the most enigmatic superstars in the NBA, Anthony’s value to a team like the Knicks is still difficult to underestimate. He hasn’t been a big-time winner in his professional career — not yet — but teams need players with his skill-set to reach the top.
Jackson knows it.
I am not sure Jackson “knows” this. At least, I think the data should suggest a bit more thought. Here is the record of the Knicks with Melo on the roster (fans of the Nuggets will note that Denver has been better in every year since Melo left):
2013-14 (as of Sunday morning): 30-43
And here is Melo’s Wins Produced per 48 minutes
2010-11 (with Knicks): 0.125
2013-14 (from BoxScoreGeeks.com): 0.160
Yes, Anthony is producing more this year. But his shooting efficiency remains unimpressive. And in May, Anthony will be 30 years old.
So is it really the case that Anthony’s value “is still difficult to underestimate”? Do the Knicks really need Anthony to “reach the top”?
Anthony has been on this team for more than three years. The Knicks are not a top NBA team. In fact, Anthony has never been part of a “top” NBA team.
So is there any reason to think this will change now that Anthony is 30 years of age?
Or let me put it this way… is it possible for people to start questioning the notion that the Knicks “must” re-sign Anthony? At a minimum, it does not seem to be the case that this decision is a slam dunk.