Yesterday at practice, Carmelo Anthony informed reporters that, “if he’s healthy, his preference is to stay at small forward.” Now, small forward is his natural position, so it is definitely a more comfortable spot for him, but if you take even a momentary glance at the statistics, it’s obvious that he’s much more effective at the power forward position.
There’s no question that Melo plays most of his time at the small forward spot, and that he’s effective when there, but when he plays power forward, Melo plays on a different level.
Based on 48-minutes of production, Melo had an effective field goal percentage of 54.7% at power forward, compared to 43.5 at small forward. He drew more fouls, attempting 10.2 a game, compared to 9, and he even corralled more rebounds – 9.6 vs. 8.4.
Now for the ridiculous part: Melo had a PER of 29.5 at power forward, compared to 17.4 at small forward. Keep in mind that the league average PER is set at 15. He scored roughly 10 more points, per 48 minutes, at the four than the three – 39 vs. 29.4.
Not only do Anthony’s individual statistics benefit from the power forward spot, but the team does, as well. When Melo played power forward last year, the team scored 103.2 points per 100 possessions, compared to 96.5 points per 100 possessions with Melo at small forward. On defense, the team allowed just 94.9 points per 100 possessions, while they let up 96 points per 100 possessions with Melo at small forward spot.
At the power forward, Melo is able to use his quickness to get past his opponent on offense and move his feet on defense. He becomes a much more versatile player at the four, thanks to his plethora of offensive moves, and his quickness on defense. Even though Melo confirmed that he’d prefer to spend his time at small forward, I would love to see Woodson pull Stoudemire as the first sub, allowing the game to flow through Melo… At the four.
After hearing Melo shy away from power forward again, it’s unlikely we’ll see him there for extended minutes, unless, of course, the Knicks take a look at the statistics.