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2013-14 Season in Review: Carmelo Anthony
By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Statistically Speaking: Averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds (career high) and 3.1 assists per game. Led the NBA with 38.7 minutes per game.
Year in Review: Carmelo Anthony was the NBA’s leading scorer in 2012-13, but many would argue that he was even better this past season. His team fell short of expectations set by the previous year’s success, but his individual performance was so impressive in some areas that the argument has merit.
Nowhere was his improvement more clear than on the boards, where he established himself as a bona fide force with a career year. Always an above average rebounder for a small forward, he played big when Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire missed time and his work on the glass allowed the Knicks to explore a variety of different lineups. For the second straight season, many of his teammates benefitted from his expanding positional versatility.
Anthony played in 77 games, 10 more than the previous year, and shouldered a heavier workload than any player in the league. He battled a shoulder injury down the stretch for the second consecutive season – this one to his right (shooting) arm – but he still managed to post the most efficient shooting campaign of his 11-year career. He eclipsed 40 percent from 3 for the first time over a full season, but he also took up fewer possessions while improving his assist rate to get teammates involved.
Between the rebounding, the eye-popping efficiency and the raw production, Melo kept the Knicks in the playoff hunt as they battled injuries and inconsistency throughout the season. He built off a career year in 2012-13 to post back-to-back PERs above 24 – by far the best two marks of his career. A steadily improving 3-point stroke became elite, and he made it official by setting a new NBA All-Star Game record with eight 3-pointers in New Orleans in February.
Season Highlight: Anthony was on a tear entering the January 24th contest against the Charlotte. He had averaged 25.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game over the last five, but the Knicks had lost all five, most recently a defeat at the hands of the Sixers. His team desperately needed a spark to salvage a crucial eight-game homestand against the upstart Bobcats, who were boasting a surprising top-10 defense.
That’s when Melo delivered a masterpiece, exploding into the record books with a franchise- and Madison Square Garden-record 62-points. As he went to the bench with seven minutes left in the 4th quarter, his final shooting line read: 23-35 FG, 6-11 3P, and 13 rebounds to boot.
“I was locked in,” he told MSG’s Tina Cervasio following the 125-96 win.
Looking Ahead: By making himself into one of the most efficient volume scorer in the league, Anthony has become nearly unstoppable over the last two seasons. He’s always been able to bully opposing wings and get to the rim, but by honing his perimeter game, he’s become an impossible cover for power forwards. It’s no wonder why he logged so many minutes; he’d become indispensible.
Carmelo Anthony has a decision to make this summer. He can opt out of his current contract and explore free agency, so Phil Jackson and his new head coach, Derek Fisher, will have to wait and see. At Fisher’s introductory press conference on Tuesday, both expressed the belief that New York is the best fit for their star going forward.