The latest entry for the New York Times Off the Dribble Blog, my take on the Carmelo Anthony trade and how it applies to the “shot creation” vs. “efficiency” debate.
Last February, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith wrote “the Knicks must go get Carmelo Anthony as soon as possible,” and “Danilo Gallinari is good, with promise, but hardly worth holding on to if it means not getting Anthony’s services.”
Smith’s remarks represent those who put a high demand on shot creation. By this standard, Anthony’s value was perceived to be much greater than that of Gallinari due to the former’s ability to take more shots. Comparing the players’ stats at the same stage in their careers, Anthony is able to take nearly 38 percent more shots than Gallinari. On the other hand, Gallinari’s true shooting percentage, a measure of a player’s overall scoring efficiency, is 45 points higher (59.0 percent to 54.5 percent) than Anthony’s. Hence those who put a low premium on scoring volume and higher value on efficiency saw Anthony as overrated.
Nearly a year later, the result of this trade seems to be that higher efficiency is more valuable than higher volume when it comes to scoring. The Denver Nuggets have a robust 14-6 record, while the New York Knicks have a mediocre record of 7-13. Not that the fortunes of these teams are based on the efforts of a single player, but they embody the opposite sides of the volume/efficiency argument.