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Carmelo Anthony on tanking: ‘I don’t know how to have that mindset’

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Even if the best case scenario for the New York Knicks is to lose as many games as possible down the stretch (unintentionally, of course) in the team’s already-lost season, Carmelo Anthony stated that it isn’t in his nature to lose simply for the sake of losing.

Following the team’s 98-91 win over the similarly woeful Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night, Anthony weighed in on how Knicks fans have nothing left to hope for but for the team to “play” itself into landing a more favorable amount of ping pong balls in the NBA Draft Lottery. Anthony did not agree with that notion. In fact, the gimpy Knicks superstar suggested that the concept of tanking shouldn’t even be part of a player’s competitive DNA.

“I don’t know how to have that mindset,” Anthony said, via ESPN.com. “Having that mindset as a basketball player, as a competitor, it’s just hard to do unless you don’t care about the game, what happens and your performance. To say that we’re going to go out there and we want to lose a basketball game, I think that’s a bad mentality to have.”

The Knicks, at 7-36, are mere percentage points ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves for worst record in the league. Phil Jackson wisely gave up on this season and any chance of winning consistently with trades that moved J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert (and their unsavory and money-heavy contracts) off the team’s roster (and ledger). The team now has little choice but play out the string, put this nightmare campaign in the rear view mirror the moment the season concludes and set its sights on retooling through the draft and free agency during the offseason.

Whether the team intentionally opts to tank or not, however, may not even be an option. The Knicks, in their current incarnation, simply are an awful basketball team, plain and simple. They will lose plenty of games without consciously trying to do so.