When Carmelo Anthony joined the New York Knicks, he was deemed as the guy coming home to lead his city to a NBA Championship. When they gave up half of their roster to acquire Anthony, the Knicks made it clear that, “Carmelo is our guy.” Well if Carmelo is your guy, you have to build the team around him. You need to sign guys that play without the basketball, and get garbage points. You can’t throw Carmelo in a situation where he has to set people up. He’s not a facilitator. That’s like putting Allen Iverson in a triangle offense, or trying to get M. Night Shyamalan to make a movie without an unneeded twist. It’s just not going to happen.
Offensively the Knicks don’t have an identity. That’s why this team has taken on so many personalities this season. One month their running the offense through Carmelo, and watching him jab step his way to shot clock violations1. Then Melo goes down with an injury, and Linsanity drops out of the sky like Square Grouper2. All of a sudden their running up and down the court, the basketball is exciting, and New York is buzzing like a sorority girl on Cinco de Mayo. Then the clock strikes midnight, and Jeremy Lin is castrated by the Miami Heat on National T.V. Next thing you know J.R. Smith and Steve Novak turn them into a three-point shooting team. Eventually it all ends with Carmelo, jab stepping the shot clock, and Knick fans wondering why their team is getting blown out.
If the Knicks want to fix their identity issue they need to build around Carmelo Anthony.
The New York Knicks have two superstars in Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony that can’t play together. It’s not because their games don’t mesh, rather it’s the fact that Amare isn’t healthy. I like Stoudemire a lot, but it’s obvious that the injuries are wearing on him. I’m not sure if it’s his back, the microfracture surgery on his knees, or the fact that half his hand was hanging off after punching a fire extinguisher case. But with Melo, it’s not meant to be. He no longer has the clout that it takes to get the ball out of Anthony’s hands. So rather than getting mediocre results out of a frustrated Stoudemire, it’s best that the Knicks trade him for a better fit.
If you are going to build around Carmelo Anthony you have to have another player that can take the ball out of his hands. That may sound crazy, but think about the Oklahoma City Thunder. They have Kevin Durant, who is the best scorer in the league. Yet their team works offensively, because Russell Westbrook has the ability to create his own shot. On the outside looking in, it seems like Westbrook should defer to Durant. However if Durant was their only scoring option, teams would load up on him, and Kevin would be resigned to tough perimeter shots. Now before you say, “I’m crazy” and “That will never work with Carmelo Anthony.” Think about this. Carmelo Anthony has been the NBA 9 years and has only advanced out of the first round of the playoffs once. The year he advanced with the Denver Nuggets, to the Western Conference Finals. Alongside him was Chauncey Billups, who average 20 ppg and 7 assist. So this has been done before, and it was highly successful.
This offseason the New York Knicks should try to turn trade Amare Stoudemire for that piece that will help them win a championship. Perhaps they could get a guy like Dwight Howard, who could take pressure off Carmelo and make them the best defensive front court in the league. Or maybe they could get Josh Smith and Jeff Teague from the Atlanta Hawks?
Then again it’s more likely they will stay as constituted. I can see them talking it out in the front office right now, “We can probably get 2 more years out of Amare, Carmelo lights up The Garden when he’s taking 30 shots a game, and the great Jeremy Lin will be back. That sounds like a championship team to me, or at least a mirage that will fool are fan base for another year.”
1. I think Carmelo should literally take the jab step out of his game. Just treat it like that 12-year-old kind in Old Yeller, and got shotgun on it. That works in college, but in the NBA it makes you easier to guard.
2. Whatever happened to Linsanity? I thought he was the second coming. I was on eBay looking for a Jeremy Lin t-shirt, and you can get one for 95 cents. That’s right you can take Linsanity home for one easy payment of 95 cents.
Editor-in-Chief of Comedic Prose
Follow Kortney Williams on Twitter @kortneyshane