Saturday, February 26, 2011

Worst defensive team in the league?

Well, I've said it before and I will say it again. I am not a Carmelo hater. I'm a defense lover. If Carmelo plays defense, I will change the name of this blog to "Carmelo Plays D!"

But until then, I think I've proven my point. We are two games into the new Knicks, and the team has given up 108 and 109 points in two games. They came into the Carmelo trade tied with Cleveland for being the second worst defensive team in the league, giving up an average of 105.8 points per game, so they have actually gotten worse defensively now.

Carmelo is a fun, exciting scorer but does not even try on defense. There is little defense on this roster that is playing. Brewer and Balkman are known for defense, but have liabilities in other areas. Jared Jeffries would be a great pickup if the team can get him, but keep this in mind...the Knicks are 3.5 games out of missing the playoffs. If things don't improve, they may not make it.

That's the pessimistic version.

But you know what? I have faith that the team will jell over time, and improve, both offensively and defensively. As long as they can pick up a Jeffries and possibly another defensively oriented player, they will make the playoffs and possibly win a first round playoff series. But don't expect anything more without a solid bigman like a Kendrick Perkins in the middle. As Donnie Walsh has stated before, a big man remains the priority.

Now imagine if you will what it was like in the Knicks heyday, in the 90's, when we heard the chant that defined the team...DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE!

Will we ever get there again?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So let it be written. So let it be done: A tale of revenge, betrayal, and ...the Knicks.

Ok, so Melo is now a Knick, traded along with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks 2014 first-round draft pick, the Warriors' 2012 second-round pick, the Warriors' 2013 second-round pick and $3 million in cash. New York also shipped centers Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota for forward Corey Brewer.

Well things just get more and more interesting around the Dolan Kingdom, doesn't it? Talk about a "Melo-drama"!

In this week's episode, the Evil Sorcerer Thomas returns, scheming behind the wise Elder Walsh's back to influence the hypnotized Pharaoh Dolan. Whispering sweet nothings in the Pharaoh's ear, he influences Pharaoh Dolan to give up most of the riches of his kingdom for the chance to bring in the great Melo, the celebrated marksman warrior who promises to deliver the Knick Kingdom to glory.

While the Elder Walsh's advice to the Pharaoh is to play the Melo game coyly, the Sorcerer Thomas' is to advance swiftly, and win at all costs, without thinking of consequence. Now, succeeding in usurping the Elder's power, the Sorcerer advances his plan to replace the Elder Walsh, slowly, in a most devious way.

Elder Walsh meanwhile, insulted at this intrusion begins to think it may be best to resign his position, but NO! That would only allow the evil Sorcerer his desire, and the Elder would not allow this indignation.

Meanwhile, the Pharaoh's subjects are in a tizzy. At last, they have the warrior they have been pleading for, to lead them out of bondage, and the hero who secretly led Melo though the maze of the majestic pyramids of Knickerbockerdom is none other than.....Thomas, the conqueror!

But what's this? A decree is issued by the Pharaoh, that the acquisition of the great Warrior Melo shall be credited to the Elder Walsh, and that Thomas' influence had no effect. In fact, he decreed, "let the name of Thomas be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Knickdom. Let the name of Thomas be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time."

Ok I stretched this story past the point of no return, so...

Seriously, what have we wrought? While the deal certainly brings excitement and fun to the Knicks, will it work? The new Knicks seem a bit unbalanced, and even if Brewer is traded for a center as is the rumor, it will be a center of the backup variety, unless the Knicks can pull off another blockbuster.

In an article with many good points, Howard Beck of the NY Times, wrote,
"Ronny Turiaf will replace Mozgov at center. But the Knicks will be thin behind them, with no one over 6 feet 10 inches on the roster. Shawne Williams and the newly acquired Shelden Williams, who are both 6-9, will be the top big men on the bench...In trading Gallinari and Chandler, the Knicks also lost 3-point shooting, a staple of D’Antoni’s offense."

So how will this all play out?
Will we have to change the title of this blog?

Remember this my friends, until next time...
"The city is made of bricks. The strong make many, the starving make few, the dead make none. So much for accusations..."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking my hat off to myself

I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that's going on and still be able to go out there and write at the high level that I can write at. I really don't think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don't think that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Say no to Carmelo; The case for passing on Carmelo Anthony

For months, the trade scenario has been examined, analyzed, discussed, and dissected by countless basketball insiders, professionals, writers and fans. In roughly nine days from now, we will (hopefully) know if Carmelo Anthony will become a Knick, Net, or a rental, if he elects not to resign with the Nuggets.

I am here as a lifelong Knicks fan to ask the team to exit stage left on this "melo-drama". I don't think Carmelo is what the Knicks need. Carmelo is a scorer, not a defender or a passer... he's a scorer, and though he may certainly be a great one, and one of the best shooters in the NBA, in case you haven't noticed, that's already what the Knicks do best... Score.  The Knicks are currently ranked second in the league in points per game. Guess who is #1? The Nuggets. Guess who's ranked #29 in points per game allowed? The Knicks. And #25 in points allowed? The Nuggets.

Now, why would you want to improve the part of the team that is already working well? When you improve a team, don't you look at what its weakness is, and address it, or do you address what's already the strength?  Do you want to win a championship in New York, or just score more, move up one position to rank #1 in points per game and have a flashier version of what you already have?

In the 90's with Patrick Ewing, and in the 70's with Willis Reed, when the Knicks won, they did it with defense, and a solid defender at the center position. The mantra is "defense wins championships", and things haven't changed. Every champion in recent memory played solid defense.

You may argue that Carmelo Anthony can learn to play defense. Really? With the great defensive minded coach, Mike D'Antoni at the helm?  Expect more of the same, only raise the Knick scoring totals by a few points per game. They'll outscore teams, sure, but when you need a stop, fuggetaboutit.

The other thing to consider is the salary cap. If you sign Carmelo, that will eat up almost all of what you'll have available. Between Anthony and Stoudemire, there won't be anything left for Chris Paul or Dwight Howard in 2012.

If you're a Knick fan, I know you don't want to wait, but the alternative is take Anthony now for star power,  scoring, and a more fun team to watch. But what's the best case scenario, realistically?  A first round playoff loss to a top 4 seed? I'll trade another year or two of good, not great ball for a realistic shot at a championship in 2013. But hey, I like to win. Just win baby.

Donnie Walsh believes that what the Knicks need most is a big center to take the pressure off Stoudemire, I agree 100%. Give the Knicks a Tyson Chandler to block some shots, and a Gerald Wallace type, and you've got something to build on. Add Dwight Howard in 2012, you'll have quite a team. I don't see the Knicks winning without a defensive stalwart in the middle. Turiaf is a great #2 but they need a main guy and Mozgov is a #3 project.

Finally, there is another issue to deal with in trading for Carmelo. Besides the fact that you may lose Chandler /Fields and/or Gallo, it will take Carmelo a while to fit into the offense. And when he posts up, what is Amare supposed to do? Watch? This move will take touches away from Amare, thereby muting the impact of this acquisition.

So you've got cap issues, more defensive issues and possible offensive chemistry issues vs. star power and scoring additions. Does that sound enticing?

With all due respect to his great shooting talent, Say No To Carmelo.