It was Media Day for the Knicks yesterday — everyone was in a good mood and everyone was willing to talk about “the little things.”
Even Carmelo Anthony got into the fun of talking defense. Anthony, one of the two or three best scorers in the world but never known as a stopper, was thrilled to extoll the virtues of defense.
Entering his 11th season, he said he’s tired of scoring a boatload of points with nothing to ultimately show for it. A known assassin on the floor, Anthony admitted he “can score 30 points any time I want” and added with a wry smile that he’s “done trying to score 30. Everybody knows I can do it. ... So if I have to sacrifice [scoring] I’ll do it.”
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The epiphany for Anthony apparently came during his time in London at the Olympics. The five-time All-Star went on to say that his Olympic experience showed him the way to better leadership instead of solely being a scorer. He added by watching true professionals and winners like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, it gave him insight — mainly knowing how to trust teammates to do their job and not worry about trying to single-handedly win games.
“At the end of the day, all that matters is winning. Everybody knows I can score. Now it’s about trusting teammates,” Anthony said. “[The Olympics] put everything in perspective. The principle of trusting guys.”
Veteran Jason Kidd has always had that perspective. He said he knows he was brought here to play solid defense and provide veteran leadership. But more importantly, Kidd added, it’s his job to make sure everyone knows their role — and does it with smiles on their faces.
“Whether it’s as a starter or coming off the bench, my role is to make the game as easy as possible and as fun as possible for the other guys,” Kidd said.
Swingman Ronnie Brewer, a defensive specialist who was mainly brought over to slow down the likes of LeBron James, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson, said his fun will be in trying to be that go-to perimeter defender. Much like Iman Shumpert’s role last season, the 6-foot-7 Brewer will be given the task of slowing down many of today’s superstar swingmen.
Should Brewer overcome his own rehab stint for a torn meniscus — he said he’s “two-to-three weeks away” — he’ll likely be Shumpert’s replacement in the starting lineup on opening night in Brooklyn, Nov. 1.
Entering his seventh season, Brewer came from a Bulls’ program that stressed defense first, second and third, so he relishes the idea of the Knicks talking tough and vowing a stringent defensive presence.
And while he rehabs, it didn’t keep Brewer from talking tough, as he knows the new-look Knicks have his back.
“We’re not backing down from anybody,” Brewer said, before rattling off the names of the more notable defenders on the Knicks. “With everyone we got here, all the new additions, we can be one of top defenses in the league.”
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8. Follow him Tuesday as he tweets live from the first day of practice.