NY Power Rankings, 2-1:
2) Deron Williams:
Williams comes in at number two, even though his panther tat may edge out Melo’s WB tat for worst superstar ink in the city. There’s no other way to put it: Deron Williams just isn’t shooting the ball well, especially from the outside. Whether you use traditional stats like field goal percentage (39%) or more advanced metrics like effective field goal percentage (44.7%), this has been the worst shooting season of D-Will’s career. You won’t hear Deron making excuses, but I will: his bevy of injuries (calf, wrist, ankle, elbow) have hampered his ability to shoot the ball effectively.
No mind, he still gets the first Net spot on this list. To paraphrase a wise man, the only reason this team has any chance of anything is because of number eight. Without re-signing the 28 year old floor general, it would have been hello lottery for the black and white in their first year in Brooklyn. Furthermore, outside of his outside shooting, Deron has been his usual all-star self, controlling the tempo of the game and dishing out assists to the tune of 8.7 per game (4th in the NBA), including a 14 dime performance against the Manhattan Knicks in the highly anticipated, Sandy-delayed rivalry match.
1) Carmelo Anthony:
Before the Dwightmare haunted Nets fans (wait… still?) and the Rudy-esque story of Linsanity swept the nation (replete with racist puns!), there was the MeloDrama, a year and a half long saga of diva behavior, trade scenarios and general sports talk radio silliness. Even after the trade, the drama continued as the Knicks’ inability to consistently win led to disputes over whether Amar’e and Melo could play together, to the eventual departure of head coach Mike D’Antoni, and even to chatter whether the Knicks gave up too much to get Melo.
Not anymore. Melo has put on his big boy pants this year; on the offensive end (as always) with 26.4 points per game (good for third in the league), but more importantly on the defensive end and as a team player. And he hasn’t just been scoring; he’s been scoring effectively, sporting a career high 51.6% effective field goal percentage. There have been lapses at times on defense and he failed to close out the inaugural borough ball game, but mostly he’s been a beast. We’ll hold off on prognosticating on how he will do when (if?) Amare comes back…for now.
And let’s not forget that the trade that brought him to the right coast came with Chauncey Billups, who was later amnestied to clear up space for Tyson Chandler. The team then brought back Felton, so they essentially traded Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler plus flotsam for Melo. Hey Knicks fans, still want to quibble about putting Mozgov in that deal?
Full rankings: 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-3 | 2-1