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Carmelo Anthony expects his scoring average to go down

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony smiles during training camp

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony smiles during training camp at the Madison Square Garden training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Credit: Andrew Theodorakis

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - It is only four games into the preseason, but that's a big enough sample for Carmelo Anthony to make some predictions about how his role will change this season in the triangle offense.

"I don't think, especially in this system now, I'll be the scoring champ,'' Anthony said after the Knicks practiced Saturday. "With the style of play we're going to have, I don't think I'll have to lead the league in scoring.''

Anthony was the league's scoring champion in 2012-13, averaging 28.7 points per game in a season in which the Knicks won 54 games. Last season, with the team struggling, he averaged 27.4 and finished second to Kevin Durant. Both years, the team's basic offensive philosophy came down to getting the ball to Anthony and letting him do his thing.

This season's highly structured triangle offense will be an adjustment for Anthony, but it shouldn't preclude him from winning the scoring title. Michael Jordan won seven scoring titles, Kobe Bryant two and Shaquille O'Neal one while playing in Phil Jackson's triangle. So there definitely is an opportunity for a superstar scorer to shine, and to be competitive, the Knicks are going to need Anthony to put up big numbers this season.

Anthony said he will get fewer shots in the triangle but will have a chance to be more effective, especially at the end of games, when he no doubt will continue to be the go-to guy.

"What I like, so far, is that throughout the game, you don't have to focus on getting me the ball or me trying to score in bunches or coming down and just throwing the ball to me and everybody watches,'' Anthony said. "Everybody will be a part of the game. Everybody will feel like they have something to do with the game.

"Then, when it comes down to it, I think we all know that when it's time for me to go to work, it's time for me to go to work. But for the most part, it's different, because before, when I was trying to start off in the first quarter and end it in the fourth, now I can just play my position, play my part and get everybody involved.''

Knicks coach Derek Fisher indicated Saturday that he does plan to use Anthony more judiciously.

"Great players make the game easier for everybody. That includes the coach,'' Fisher said. "It's a luxury to have; you just can't abuse it, like any luxury. So it's important that we understand that we have one of the great players in the game that is capable of carrying a team and doing a lot of work for us. But it's not in his best interest or the team's best interest to constantly rely on that gift, because it truly is a gift. As a coach, it feels good to know you have a guy like that, willing to play that role for you and is capable of it. But at the same time, you have to be mindful of not taking advantage of it.''

Notes & quotes:Anthony isn't all that excited about the league's experiment of cutting games from 48 to 44 minutes. He said he would rather see the NBA take a look at eliminating games on consecutive nights. "I don't know if that will ever happen,'' he said. "Maybe 10 years from now, when I'm not in the league.'' . . . Andrea Bargnani, who has missed three games with a sore hamstring, did not practice Saturday. If he doesn't practice Sunday, Fisher said it is unlikely that he will play Monday against Milwaukee.


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