The New York Knicks are showing signs of tremendous improvement this NBA season. In fact, the basketball team already surpassed its winning record in the past year merely halfway through this season. Fans of the Kristaps Porzingis squad noted that apart from an improved roster, the change of heart by Carmelo Anthony greatly contributed to their growth. The NBA All-Star now assumes a mentor role among his teammates and focuses more on being a playmaker than scoring.
"If I have those players on my team, somebody to pass the torch, of course I'm willing to do that," said Anthony, according to News Day. He added, "I think [Duncan] realizes that he wasn't going to be able to do it by himself. Some days he has it, some days he doesn't, but I don't think he worries about that because he's got other guys on his team who can carry that load. You have to want to do that. You have to be willing to do that. If you talk about sacrifice, that's the ultimate sacrifice."
Anthony is referring to the San Antonio Spurs, which have the Big Three as leaders for a very long time. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have dominated the squad for years, but are now passing the torch to LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. While Anthony still plays maximum minutes during NBA games, the elite star recognizes that an apprentice is in order.
However, injuries have sidelined Anthony this season. This leaves the New York Knicks without a fearless competitor by their side. Although Anthony's presence is missed, the situation gives other members of the roster to shine. A particular NBA star who shone in the recent games is Jerian Grant.
"He was waiting for that moment," Porzingis commented of Grant, according to ESPN. The Latvian star added, "He was ready for it. He was fearless out there." Anthony echoed the sentiments of the rookie on Grant. The NBA elite said, "When he [Grant] comes in, putting pressure on the defense, it changes the dynamic of the game."
Anthony went on to state, "He [Grant] stepped up big-time. He controlled our team, controlled our offense, attacked their defense. He made big plays."
For his part, Grant shared that the confidence from Derek Fisher gave him the boost to just go for it. He shared, "Coach has already given me confidence by leaving me in the fourth, I was able to get into the lane and find my teammates. The team was telling me to get the ball and control the game and that's what I did. They put the ball in my hands and told me to make some plays."
With new players coming in and showing off their abilities to lead, some fans feel that it might be time for the New York Knicks to consider letting go of Anthony. The NBA All-Star was initially brought in the team with the intention of using his popularity to attract talented players. However, such plan failed to be implemented. Anthony was not able to mesh with big names like Charlotte Hornets' Jeremy Lin and Miami Heat's L'Amare Stoudemire. Moreover, the exit of the elite star could provide the New York Knicks with a sizable salary cap space - a must-have especially this coming free agency season.