FanPost

Fear is the mind-killer: give Melo minutes at SF!




Much has been made of the transformation the Knicks' offense has undergone with Melo starting at PF, and the numbers/record certainly support it. But an interesting side-effect to the success of having Melo at the 4, is the dread it has instilled in fans/media types about the possibility of giving him time back at the 3. This possibility is all the more likely with Amar'e coming back and JR Smith's minute load now being in question.

The reasoning for playing Melo at PF is the simple concept of giving your top scorer the best opportunity to get mismatches. Force other teams to play lesser players to counter going small, or create a disadvantage for Melo (or another player) and get easy shots. All very sound logic. However, how does this apply to a playoff series where Melo will always have a distinct advantage based on the opponent's personnel? From Zach Lowe's Thursday Grantland article:

"Anthony can bully George in the post, hunt transition 3-pointers as George struggles to track him, and blow by West or Hansbrough when Indiana gives them the Melo assignment in short stretches."

Indiana lacks a player with the necessary foot speed/size combination to match up with Carmelo. And Melo at the 4 isn't really for defensive purposes (despite his good work on post-ups), so why slavishly stick to this strategy when the matchup does not warrant it? Play Chandler/Martin, STAT and Melo at the same time Woody! Get your best players on the court at the same time. Don't give Novak/Copeland minutes or put Amar'e at center (shivers) just for the sake of keeping Melo at PF. Don't be afraid to face the unknown.

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