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Is fasting hurting Knicks' Carmelo Anthony's play?

By Zach Harper | NBA writer
Carmelo Anthony needs to eat something. He's wasting away to nothing. (Getty Images)

Does this New York Knicks' uniform make Carmelo Anthony look fat?

Anthony has been known to observe the "Daniel Fast" occasionally over his career. It's apparently a way for him to become more connected spiritually and find mental clarity in his life. It's not something many athletes would do during the season, but it's something Melo is willing to experiment with during stretches in which he's playing basketball.

Lately, he's been doing the fast, and it has been affecting his play. From Zagsblog:

“I usually do it to get some clarity in my life and spiritual reasons,” Anthony said after going for 27 points and seven boards as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 100-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets. “But I'm done now.”

“It's a long story, man,” he said of his fast. “I haven't had a good meal in about two and a half weeks. No meats, no carbs, anything like that. So I don't know how I was out there competing at high level. It's been some games this past week where your body just feels depleted out there and you're trying to find a way to get some energy.

“But I surrender, I'm done. I'm going to get some food right now.”

Melo's play has certainly fallen off a bit during the past 15 days.

In the 24 games before those 15 days, Carmelo was scoring 28.5 points per game on 47.3 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from the 3-point line. In the past 15 days, when he was supposedly participating in this fast, Anthony's scoring went up to 32.3 points per game, but he's taking nearly six more shot attempts per game to improve his scoring average by fewer than four points during this time.

His field goal percentage has dropped to 42.3 percent and his 3-point percentage is down to 38.9 percent. None of these are bad statistics, necessarily, but you can see a drop-off in his scoring efficiency. As Deadspin noted from a Kelly Dwyer post from a couple years ago:

In a 12-game stretch from January 9 until January 30, Denver Nugges super-scorer Carmelo Anthony averaged 21.8 points per game, and shot 41.5 percent from the floor. This compares unfavorably with his season-long averages of just under 25 points and 46 percent shooting. And though part of that streak took place on an Eastern road swing for Anthony's Nuggets, those games saw Denver going up against some of the East's lesser lights: Detroit, Cleveland, Washington and Philadelphia. The Nuggets played the Heat and Lakers during that span, but they also played the Cavaliers twice.

If you're not eating meats or carbohydrates and just keeping your body going with vegetables and fruits, it could be hard to consistently have enough energy to work out effectively. Now try playing NBA basketball with this diet and see if your energy is at an acceptable level. This will inevitably bring up the question of why Anthony would do this during the season and not wait for the offseason to experiment with his spirituality and diet.

I don't know that it's something for anybody to actually judge. This spiritual/religious practice is something Anthony feels he needs at this time. If this stretch of fasting gets Melo into a better place mentally for the rest of the season, then it's probably a good sacrifice for the middle of the season. It's unlikely the Knicks will fall out of the playoff race at any point in this season, so it's not really hurting the team in any way.

And now? Carmelo will feast with the best of them.

Asked what he'll have, Anthony said, “I'm going to get me the biggest steak I can possibly get.”

If he can eat it in under an hour, I believe the entire meal is free.

 
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