Call it a redemption season, or a coming-of-age campaign. Either way, season 2014-15 will be a telling one for the New York Knicks franchise, and it’s $124 million man, Carmelo Anthony.
After a summer of will-he-or-won’t-he free-agency in which he eventually inked a five-year extension with the Knicks, Anthony faces the mounting pressure to elevate his team past the first-round for just the second time since the beginning of the 2000’s. He isn’t alone, though. The new-look Knicks are helmed by a first-year coach in Derek Fisher, and a newbie front-office guy in Phil Jackson – he of eleven rings fame.
Will the Triangle be a success in Gotham? Do the Knicks have the fortitude to bounce back from last year’s 37-45 season? How close was Melo – the self proclaimed “most underrated superstar” in the NBA – to leaving for a sure fire contender?
Anthony faced these questions, and more, at today’s Knicks’ Media Day. Check out some of what he said below.
On playing heavy minutes:
“My approach to the game doesn’t change. I’m still gonna’ go out there and do what I have to do. I’m still going to work hard, and if Coach Fish wants me to play 48-minutes, I’ll play 48-minutes.
“Do I think I’ll be playing forty-plus minutes a night? I don’t think that. I think we’ve learned from past experiences. Me, personally, my mindset doesn’t change, whatever they need me to do I’m going to go and try do it.”
On his free agency and re-signing with the Knicks over championship contenders:
“I made a commitment to stay here in New York. I made a commitment to the Knicks’ organization. I made a commitment to Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson. I also made a commitment to my teammates. That right there goes to show you that it wasn’t all about running and jumping ship to get something in the immediate future. I’m willing to be patient. How long I’m willing to be patient, I can’t tell you that. I’m willing to take that chance. For me to get up and leave like that — now that I look back at it — I wouldn’t have felt right within myself.
“From a basketball standpoint, it probably would’ve been the greatest thing to do [to leave for a championship contender]. I wouldn’t have personally have felt right. I forced my way to New York [in 2011] and have some unfinished business to take care of. I wouldn’t have felt right getting up and leaving like that.”
On the Triangle system:
“I got a good glimpse what the system will be, and it’s fun. From what I’ve been able to watch and learn, I’ve been here three weeks early working with the guys, asking questions. Not just going out thinking I know it all, being receptive. It’s been great for me. I know it’s not going to happen overnight. My main thing is embrace it, the new regime and new system and along the way have fun.
“I know from being a student of the game, and watching and knowing the history, that it will work. It takes time. Nothing happens overnight, but it will work. As long as I’m patient with that, then everything else is irrelevant.”
On speaking with Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen about the nuances of the Triangle:
“The information that I’ve gotten from them guys, I’m just taking that in, sealing that into a bottle and applying that to my everyday game. That’s why … I’m excited about being in the triangle, I’m excited about coming to the Knicks, I’m excited about the opportunity that we have as a team, being with the new system, being with the new coaches.
“Overall I’m excited and I feel happy again, I feel at ease. Like I said, I have a lot of clarity and I’m in a good place and I can’t wait to get it going.”
On Knicks’ season expectations:
“As far as putting a number on games, on wins this season, I can’t tell you how many wins we’re going to have, I mean, we haven’t even opened our first practice yet. I can tell you for sure, that we’re going to have a much better season that we had last year.”