The New York Knicks are coming off a loss on Monday to the Houston Rockets. They’re hoping to have Carmelo Anthony back against the Brooklyn Nets after missing the past two games with an ankle injury.
In two games this season against the Nets, Anthony has scored 80 points -- including a season-high 45 on Dec. 18.
In those two games against Brooklyn, Anthony made eight of 12 3-point attempts. Shooting behind the arc is one area of his game that has improved significantly.
Before this season, Anthony was a career 32 percent shooter behind the arc. That average has shot up to 45.5 percent (51-112) this season.
Long-range shooting isn’t the only area of Anthony’s game that has improved. He’s also shooting a career-best 46.8 percent on mid-range shots (which are 2-point field goal attempts taken outside the paint). Last season, he made just 38.9 percent from that distance.
Combined with making more than six free throws per game, Anthony’s true shooting percentage this season is 59.2, which would be the highest of his career. (True shooting percentage is a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, three-point field goals and free throws.)An improved True Shooting Percentage has resulted in higher efficiency from Anthony. His offensive efficiency this season is at a career-high 115.1 -- meaning the Knicks score 115.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the court. His highest offensive efficiency entering this season was 110.7 in 2008-09. When Anthony is not on the court, the Knicks efficiency drops to 102.6
Among players to log at least 100 minutes this season, Anthony’s offensive efficiency ranks third behind Nick Collison (115.5) and teammate Tyson Chandler (115.2).
Another reason the Knicks would like to see Anthony return? He ranks fifth in plus/minus at +167. He’s been on the court for 712 minutes compared to 445 off it and the difference has been noticeable. Per 48 minutes, the Knicks are outscoring opponents by 11.3 points with Anthony on the court, but are getting outscored by almost two points with him off the court.
Anthony is second this season averaging 27.9 points per game. If he maintains that for the entire season, he’d be just the fourth Knick to average at least 27 points per game for an entire season and the first since Patrick Ewing in 1989-90.