New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony empathized with NBA players skipping games and road trips to get some additional rest, adding he may take a game to rest in the near future.
"I think everyone needs a rest day, to be honest with you,'' Anthony said, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "I think if you're an NBA player, professional athlete, you need a rest day. It's a matter of when you take it, how you take it. The decision is not just mine. It's a collective as a whole -- whatever is the best situation for that individual."
Anthony's comments come at the heels of several Cleveland Cavaliers players, including LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, not traveling to Memphis for back-to-back games and the Cavaliers' fourth game in six nights, instead choosing to remain in Cleveland and rest before the Cavaliers' next game. The Grizzlies took the same approach by not having Marc Gasol travel to Cleveland for Tuesday's game but playing on Wednesday.
Via the Associated Press:
Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek also said he was open to having players miss games in order to rest, saying if a player came to him asking for a break, he'll give him a break.
"At this point everyone's getting aches, bumps and bruises and that achiness, you got to play through it," Hornacek said. "If [Anthony] comes to us and says, 'Look, I need to take couple of days off,' we'll do that. We try not to practice him very hard, trying to save him for the games."
Anthony said he would rather miss games in order to rest early in the season as opposed to ones in March and April when the playoff picture is clearer.
"If there's a time to take rest to take care of your body, you take that," Anthony said. "It's not like the end of the season or we need a game to win to make it. If you're going to take any game, I'd rather it be right now -- early in the season."
In today's NBA, sitting players to ensure they get necessary rest (regardless of a specific injury) has become a common practice.
The Knicks are playing their best basketball in four years, but are nowhere near the quality of play a contender like the Warriors or Spurs. One might not think they can afford to simply rest a superstar like the aforementioned contenders can. That said, there's still something going on with Anthony, who's shooting a career-low 42.1 percent from the floor this season (well below his career average of 45.2 percent) and whose 6.1 rebound average is his lowest as a Knick. He's not producing at the level New York needs him to, and such, could use a break.
The Knicks have proven to be relatively competitive even when Anthony is not at the top of his game, so perhaps they'd be able to manage against a sensible opponent without him. Seeing that extra pep in his step offensively return may depend on it.