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Suns’ Earl Watson praises Carmelo Anthony’s offensive skills

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks prepares for a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Carmelo Anthony may not be feeling the love from his own ownership, but opponents lately have done nothing but lavish praise on the Knicks’ much-maligned superstar.

“Melo was my teammate in Denver, so I know Melo pretty well — big-time player, quick first step, might be one of the best one-on-one players in our league,” Suns coach Earl Watson said Saturday before Phoenix beat the Knicks, 107-105, as Anthony’s three-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out. “He can play without the dribble, off the dribble, great second jump, crashing the boards.”

His comments echoed those of Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who had said Anthony “is one of the best offensive players in the game.”

There are a lot of ifs when it comes to moving Anthony before the Feb. 23 trade deadline — and a whole lot of roadblocks, too — but comments like those by Watson and Brooks only serve to highlight that Anthony, 32, is a highly prized commodity, even with his price tag and even with the verbal hits he’s taken recently.

Noah back as starter

After talk about playing Kristaps Porzingis at center and Anthony at power forward, it was business as usual Saturday night when Joakim Noah (sprained ankle) returned. Jeff Hornacek went back to his conventional lineup, with Noah starting at center.

Watson: KP is future

Watson didn’t limit his praise to Anthony. “Por zingis to me is very unique,” he said. “He’s the future of the NBA — with his skill level, his height and his size, his movements. He’s very mobile, he’s young, so young guys get better every day, every game. You always have to be expecting that next step.”


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