Carmelo Anthony wanted a ‘hockey assist’ for his 10th of the game

Anthony has been a better passer this season than maybe ever.
USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony wasn’t all-the-way pleased with his stat line after the Knicks’ impressive, come-from-behind, overtime victory over the Jazz on Wednesday. 

The Knicks’ biggest offensive threat finished with 30 points, nine assists and seven boards, but Melo continued on a trend we’ve seen recently. He wanted that extra assist.

From ESPN’s Ian Begley:

Anthony finished with nine on the night and was facetiously wondering why he couldn’t be credited for one more.

“They should have given me a hockey assist,” he said with a laugh.

His beef with the official scorer went unresolved, but pretty much everything else went Anthony's way on Wednesday.

Anthony has become a more willing and concerned facilitator this season. In reality, he’s not actually passing all that much more, but he is being more productive with those passes. His assisting totals are more impressive all around, whether those are the number of assists he’s piling up or the points he’s getting off them (he’s creating more threes with his passes than in past years). 

That showed off as true down the stretch of Wednesday’s game against Utah. As the Knicks were coming back, Anthony flung a couple of brilliant passes to open up a Knicks lead which the team wouldn’t relinquish. Only a few days after Melo joked that he wanted a triple-double following a performance that placed him only two assists away from one, Melo is trying his best to show off a new versatile self once again.

In reality, Anthony could ease some pain by going to NBA.com and checking out some of the SportVU data the league makes readily available to the public. In there, he can actually find secondary assists, more commonly referred to as hockey assists. 

Melo did have one secondary assist to go along with his nine regular ones from Wednesday night, so why not be generous and give him a double-digit total for the evening? It seems like the right thing to do.

Anthony is now averaging an historically out-of-character 5.8 assists per game over his past eight contests, but it doesn’t seem like that might change any time soon. Of course, it’s always possible that one of the best scorers of his generation regresses to the usual self we’ve seen for the past 13 years. It’s not like he’s made the jump to becoming a completely different player altogether. But since a little after the new year, he has become a more willing and—more importantly—a more effective passer. If that continues for the rest of the season, the Knicks, who have won seven of their past 10 games, could find themselves continuing to win.