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.

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