Melo – Shooting Less w/out Limiting His Shots

One of the big questions being asked is whether Carmelo Anthony should shoot less.  In my opinion, the answer is “yes”.  But should Carmelo limit his shots?  The answer is “no”.

At first glance, that might seem like a contradiction.  It’s not.

The first question doesn’t specify how Melo should shoot less; the second one does.  The first allows for his shots to be limited within the flow of the offense; the second has Melo deciding when he should limit himself.

If you’ve followed my recent articles, you know that I’m a big advocate of limiting how much a shooter needs to think as he actually takes the shot.  In “Quick Fix for Sick Knicks” (Roman Numeral III) and “Breaking a Shooting Slump is as easy as ABC”, I describe situations where a shot should be avoided and ways to reduce the amount of thinking that a player takes as he prepares to shoot.  With that as my focus, I’m not likely to endorse something that’s going to make a player make a decision as he’s about to launch it (or not).

One of the things that I really like about Mike D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy is that he eliminates a lot of the decision making that can mess up a shooter.  If you’re in your range, you’re open, and it’s a good look, you have the green light.  No wondering about “will Coach be okay with me shooting it from here?”.  The reason the offense hasn’t been doing well is the ball movement hasn’t been what it’s been in the past, so the “good look” part of the equation hasn’t always been a “yes”.

I’ll often hear a coach say that player so-and-so is going to have to sacrifice.  He shouldn’t.  Because sacrifice means that a person is going to do something that they don’t normally do or they’re not going to do something that they normally do.  Either way, they have to go against their instincts.  That takes conscious thought and we don’t want that as they’re taking the shot.

If Melo’s going to shoot fewer shots, it should be because he gets the ball less often.  Let the point guard (whose position requires more conscious thought anyway), pass to others to balance the load.  When Melo gets the ball, he still doesn’t have to jack it up.  If he does shoot, the load is being balanced for him.  If he doesn’t shoot, it should be because he sees an open teammate, not because he’s taken the time to think about whether he should shoot this time or not.

This probably means that Melo’s role as “point forward” should be reduced significantly.  Having the ball run through a player whose first instinct is to run an isolation play for himself isn’t working too well.  The ‘80s Celtics didn’t try to run the offense through Kevin McHale (nicknamed “the black hole” because once the ball went in to him, it never came back out).  Instead, they ran the offense through Larry Bird, a player whose game was more conducive to facilitating for his teammates as well as shooting.

By all means, let’s see the shots distributed better (last season’s “What Goes Around Needs to Be Spread Around” still applies).  But let’s do it in a way that ensures not only the increased success of Melo’s teammates but the increased success of Melo himself.

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3 Responses

  1. The is the best break down of Melo’s shots/selection I’ve read. Last nights game was evident that by him getting others involved gives them better opportunities for better shots. It also kept the pace of the game going instead of 1-on-1 playing which slows the game down. Melo’s a great player but he doesn’t have to feel like he has to carry the team. Great post!

    • Thanks for the kind words. You make a great point about Melo not having to carry the team. I think a lot of stars “gun” because they think they have to, not because they’re selfish. But playing w/in the team concept and helping teammates play better will win more games in the end.

  2. […] Melo – Shooting Less w/out Limiting His Shots […]

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