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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Big Name - Part 2

I was on record disliking the Carmelo Anthony trade - the Knicks went for the big name, some star power, and it has backfired.  The Knicks gave up young players on a winning team, and purchased a flawed scorer demanding a huge contract.  Carmelo Anthony was going to be a free agent at the end of the year, hence he would have been available nonetheless.  Anthony is a wonderfully efficient and effective scorer, but practically the entire rest of his game is flawed.

The Knicks started the season 18-5.  I remember hearing on ESPN talk radio (Michael Kay's show to be exact), about how silly the naysayers who were against the trade must feel.  "Where are you now?!" was the exact quote I had the displeasure of hearing while driving and listening to sports talk radio.  23 games into an 82 game season is hardly the time to declare a season a 'success' and put as fait accompli the trade's success.  (More evidence that the 'professionals' are as flawed as the rest of us).  As I type this, the Knicks are 38-26, meaning that since that start they are one game below .500, 20-21 to be exact.  Despite the injuries to Anthony and other members of the roster, the Knicks now look like a supremely flawed team.  Anthony is shooting 44% from the field, 38% from three point range, while taking 22 shots a night.  The problem with Carmelo Anthony as your team's "Big Star", or the "Face of the Franchise" is that he is a passive defender (at best), and for a man who was moved to the power forward spot, he doesn't rebound (he isn't in the top 20).  Gordon Hayward, a shooting guard for the Utah Jazz who you've never heard of, has more blocks than Carmelo Anthony.  Think about that for a minute.

The future does not look good.  The Knicks gave up a young core of players who were put together by a coach and a GM who were working in tandem and had a plan.  Anthony's name came up, and for whatever reason, the mantra in New York, especially on talk radio, became "if you have the chance to get Anthony, you take it".  Why? Perhaps NY Talk Radio is not the place to go to figure out which  trades to make, although it seems to now have an influence.  The Knicks had become a winning team, had a young core, a system that the players liked, a coach who was getting the job done - and then it was over.  The Knicks have had to since re-acquire Raymond Felton.  They had to get an inside presence in Tyson Chandler to shore up a nonexistent interior defense, and they picked up J.R. Smith in order to provide a spark off the bench.  The Anthony trade has been extremely costly.  For $20 plus million a year, the Knicks now "have Carmelo", but the result are barely better than what was before.  To add insult to injury, the Knicks got manhandled by the Nuggets, Anthony and Smith's former team.  Wilson Chandler, a smaller piece of what the Knicks gave up, has turned into a serious contributor to the franchise.  Gallinari's numbers are similar to Anthony's, except he scores 10 fewer points per game - at half the cost.

A Carmelo Anthony led team will not go too far.  One year during his time in Denver the Nuggets got past the first round - I see nothing much better than that for the foreseeable future of the Carmelo Era.  The huge contract will limit the moves they can make in order to improve, and they'll make the playoffs and therefore miss out on high draft picks.  They are reminiscent of the Atlanta Hawks of the Dominique Wilkins era - fun to watch at times, but never a real threat for an NBA championship.

As a Knicks fan, I have decided to add this to add to my suffering...

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