Chris Herring's piece for The Wall Street Journal this morning presents an interesting number that reflects his change in offensive approach:
Quick-trigger shots like that from Anthony have been more frequent this season. He is shooting the ball within two seconds of catching it 23.9% of the time, according to Synergy Sports. That is a steep increase from last season, when he caught and shot it 17.1% of the time, and 2010-11, when 14.7% of his possessions with the Knicks were catch-and-shoot situations.
A few points of context:
1. If Melo's TS% of .570 holds up, it'll be the best shooting season of his career. A big part of that is his 42 percent shooting from downtown, which is waaaay above any of his other full-season numbers.
2. I don't have the fancy version of Synergy to confirm this, but I bet Melo's shots off the catch : off the dribble or time spent holding the ball per touch spiked while Raymond Felton was hurt. And especially given how brilliantly he shot off the catch on Sunday, I bet (and hope) the quick trigger returns going forward.
3. I-- again, without stats to back me up-- disagree with Herring's assertion that Melo's burgeoning reputation as a distributor is faulty. His assist numbers may be flat/down, but just watching the guy, I see a lot more passes out of double teams than I did before (though, again, that seemed to drop a bit during Felton's absence) and very many hockey assists. I suspect if you went by hockey rules, Melo's assists numbers would be up.
4. I don't know how or if this relates, but Melo's shooting numbers at the rim are still way down. Relatively few attempts, many fewer assisted attempts. So, he's making stuff happen off the catch, but not off basket cuts, I guess?
But yeah, in short, Melo's not holding the ball as much this season. He's cut out a lot of the dawdling between catch and shot-- that game-winner against Atlanta was a perfect example-- and that's surely contributed to those upticks in shooting percentage. Good things.