Carmelo Should Get Out of New York Before It’s Too Late

carmelo-anthony-mime

PER ESPN:

“I would leave today [if I were Carmelo],” Roberston said on SiriusXM NBA radio Thursday. “… Let me tell you why: wherever that kid has gone, when he was at Denver, they had a team that fooled around with the ball, fooled around with the ball, then all of the sudden when they needed a basket, threw it to Carmelo. Then, when he shot the ball, they said he shot too much. Then when he didn’t shoot they said he didn’t shoot enough…No matter what he does in New York they’re going to criticize him, the people are going to criticize him, because you got guys on [the Knicks] that cannot play. You got guys that are hurt all the time.” He continued with, “If he goes to Houston, they’re gonna win everything,” Robertson told host and well-known Knicks fan Spike Lee. “You look at LeBron [James], LeBron’s got a great game and the kid down at Oklahoma, [Kevin] Durant’s got a great game — they can’t out-shoot Carmelo. … I’ve seen him in a lot of basketball games over the years and I’m telling you right now the kid, he just can get that shot away. Now he’s gotten smarter, he’s going to the basket a lot. But what gets me is that everyone thinks that everything that happens bad is his fault.”

So Oscar Robertson believes Carmelo should ditch New York for Houston. Is he right?

Absolutely.

While Carmelo doesn’t necessarily have to go to Houston, there is no point in staying in New York. The only reason I can think of is money. New York can sign Carmelo to a maximum contract worth 129 million dollars over the course of 5 years if he stays. If he leaves he can only sign a 95.8 million contract for 4 years. So yes, the extra 33.2 million dollars is definitely enticing – think of all the things you could buy and the lifestyle you could live with that kind of money. However, Carmelo Anthony is for the most part already living that life. With endorsements and his 21 million dollar salary this year, there isn’t much more that he needs. Take into account his wife’s salary from TV and her book, The Love Playbook, and the Anthony family is living pretty.

Phil Jackson has made statements regarding superstars taking less money to help the team as a whole, but if Carmelo is going to be taking less than a max contract with New York why not take less with a team that has a better chance of winning a championship in the future. The Knicks have made “power moves” toward the end of the year to try and make New York a more attractive destination for Carmelo but what they have now and what they accomplished this season leaves anything but optimism in Carmelo’s mind.

The team was by far the most disappointing team of 2014. After a pleasingly surprising 2013 campaign, finishing 54-28 and 2nd in the East. Of course they lost in the 2nd round to the up and coming Pacers but not only was it the playoffs, it was something to build off. This year they played like a completely different team. J.R Smith had one of his worst years ever, full of marijuana, shoe-lace untying, and chucking. Raymond Felton almost shot his wife. Tyson Chandler broke his leg. Iman Shumpert faced a slump. Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t really start playing till the end of the season. Andrea Bargnani was hardly worth his contract, proved that white men could jump and hurt his elbow in the process. Carmelo Anthony, if he were to come back next season, would have absolutely nothing to work with except for an abysmal 2014 season, a new coach that would need to “gel” with the whole roster and then a rebuilding project starting in 2015 when all the big contracts are gone.

Carmelo has two viable options in my opinion. One more than the other. He can either not opt-out this season and be an unrestricted free agent in 2015, the same year all the big names would be free agents. I’m talking the Lebrons of the world. That would involve probably one more year of not making the playoffs considering the up and coming teams in the East (Wizards, Raptors, Hawks) as well as the power teams on the top (Bulls, Nets, Heat, Pacers). Then a free agency summer in 2015 where he could pair up with another big name free agent and try win with whoever that may be.

The other option, and the one Oscar Robertson is a firm believer in is ditching this summer for Houston or Chicago. Chicago is expected to amnesty Boozer and then would probably have room to sign Carmelo this summer. Carmelo has previously stated his respect for Tom Thibodeau and the way the Bulls play defense. Joakim Noah has also talked about possibly bringing Carmelo to the windy city next year. The Bulls would be bringing Derrick Rose back next year as well as defensive player of the year Joakim Noah. Along with a team full of hard-working defenders and two-way players, and a consistent coach of the year candidate in Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls would love to have Carmelo and for Carmelo’s defense a move to Chicago could be the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

If not the Bulls, the Rockets who look like they’ll be going down fast to the Blazers this year. The Rockets and Carmelo fit together perfectly. They both like to shoot the ball, and they both want to win. With Dwight Howard down low, James Harden handling the ball and Melo spreading the floor on the wing they would have a very very dangerous trio. They’d most likely have to get rid of Parsons, Lin and Asik to get this deal done but for Carmelo it would be worth it. I think with Dwight and Carmelo they’d both be in stages of their careers where they know they can’t play isolation ball for their teams to win. With the fast paced offense and strong role players for Houston, Carmelo would finally have a team that not only fits his skills but he would have people he wouldn’t mind deferring to and thus probably ridding him off all criticism. The Rockets are right in the thick of things in the Western Conference as opposed to the Knicks who have nothing to work with and will most likely need a rebuilding project in the near future.

Phil Jackson’s hiring and the Mike Woodson’s staff firing was a nice try but Carmelo has to see past the bright lights and the dollar signs and realize New York is and has been for a while a toxic place for basketball. The team is full of big overpaid contracts, no coach at the moment and a team that is going through an entire culture and roster change. For Carmelo, in the prime of his career at 30 years old has no time to start over. He needs to be somewhere he can win and whether it be Houston, or Chicago, Carmelo has to get out of New York as soon as possible.

 

In a City of Stars, Jeremy Lin is the brightest

Who would’ve thought that when New York brought Melo, Amar’e and Tyson Chandler together, Jeremy Lin would be the final piece to the puzzle.

The whole season has been a disappointment for the New York Knicks. In Pre-Season, there was more hype surrounding New York basketball since Patrick Ewing was in the building. Not only did they have their two superstars, but now the Knicks brought in what they thought would be a final piece to a puzzle in Tyson Chandler. However, this season has proved that the puzzle is missing many pieces. Especially Baron Davis who is living this season on the sideline with a bulging disk.

To be honest I thought all was lost. I was beginning to think it was time to rebuild the team and cross our fingers for next year. Who could’ve blamed me, I mean before Saturday the Knicks were 8-15 and held the 10th spot in the East. Nobody, I repeat nobody would’ve guessed the missing piece was sitting all the way down the New York Bench.

New York’s love for Jeremy Lin all began on Saturday night with 8:17 left in the 3rd quarter against the New Jersey Nets. The Knicks had came back from a 10 point deficit but were still having another disappointing game that all of us have unfortunately grown accustomed to. So of course in times of despair, boos from the crowd and D’antoni’s seat slowly catching fire with more heat you go to your last resort. So that’s what they did.

I just started tuning into the game when Lin was subbed in. From an impartial standpoint when I see Jeremy Lin checking in, I know somethings now going well. But for the next two quarters of the game I sat with my mouth wide open as Jeremy Lin lit up Deron Williams and the Nets’ zone with 25 Points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but I couldn’t help but wonder what if this is the guy New York has been looking for.

New York isn’t a city with much patience and has a media that certainly isn’t scared to jump to conclusions. So they publish articles like Jeremy Lin is the King. Or Jeremy Lin will bring the Knicks back. I wasn’t so sure. Then I watched last night’s game against Utah where he made his first career start. Once again I sat with my mouth wide open and watched Jeremy Lin drop 28 points and dish 8 assists.

Now I believe it, New York has found themselves a true point guard. Something they have been looking for all year. Mike Bibby is too old, Shump prefers the 2, Baron is injured, Douglas is inconsistent and then comes Jeremy Lin. An eager young player from Harvard, he can score and can find the open man. I see this as the beginning for the team. They can only evolve from here. It seems that when Lin is on the floor it energizes the whole team. In the past two games Jared Jeffries has taken a combined 8 charges. They have won both games. They have held their opponents to an average of 90 points. The thing that is most pleasing for knicks fans is that he is getting everybody involved. In last nights game 5 knicks players were in double digits in the scoring department. They need a distributor and Jeremy is just the guy. What most stands out about Jeremy Lin is that he was a bench warmer until Saturday but he doesn’t seem to be scared to take the last shot or have the team depend on him. In the New Jersey game he had 10 points in the 4th quarter. In last nights game he had 11 in the 4th quarter. Even with Amar’e and Melo out of the picture, Lin still took it upon himself to get the job done.

So yeah, I think i’ll let myself indulge in the Lin-Mania. I’ll also make a bold statement and say that New York doesn’t have to rush Baron Davis’ return because on the other-side of their bench is the key piece to the puzzle.

Why the Knicks Can’t Get it Right

I’ve been preaching this for a while now. I’ve been telling everyone, trying to explain to everyone that the Knicks just won’t be able to do it. It’s not their fault, necessarily and it’s not too complicated either.

The Knicks were on the right track a year and a half ago. They had a superstar in Amar’e and they had a great group of solid role players. Guys like Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Shawne Williams and so on. They weren’t title contenders but in a few years they would be on their way. However, New York isn’t a city that has too much patience. They couldn’t watch their team evolve and their role players evolve like they should’ve. They couldn’t have waited a season when Gallo would put up a career high 37 points at MSG. Instead, they threw their whole team down the gutter in return for Melo. The guy who wanted to come here anyway. The guy who would’ve signed in free agency. But again that word patience isn’t one of their strengths.

The 2nd half of the season went as expected for a completely new team trying to gel with one another. Melo and Amar’e were figuring out how to spread the wealth and the new guys figuring out their roles on the new team. After getting swept in the playoffs, gelling was still the excuse. Here we are, 16 games into the season and still they use “gelling” as an excuse. The reason this team can’t win is because they have two of the same superstar. It’s simple.

If you really compare Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony they are the same player. They even go one after the other in ESPN Rankings. They both love Iso’s they love the mid range game and can get to the basket. They also don’t enjoy passing too much. This explains why Amar’e shot selection, percentage and points per game have dropped since they brought in Melo. So when you add two Amar’e Stoudemires to one team then of course the ball movement will stop. Of course they won’t work together. They’re not compatible.

Take a look at Dwyane Wade and Lebron James. They are similar players as well, love driving to the basket. Aren’t the best shooters in the world. They’re extremely athletic and love to pass. That last aspect is what makes them compatible. They love to pass. If you have two superstars who love to pass then you’re golden. They will work together. But when both stars’ games revolve around one on ones, well don’t be surprised when you have a 6 game losing streak. It was stupid to get Melo through a trade. Getting Melo in free agency would’ve been smarter. They weren’t winning a championship anyway, and they would have a bench and some backups for when the offense got stagnant. They through away their future and now they’re in a ditch.

I don’t see too many ways to get out. I’m not saying they can’t turn it around and become a good team. But they’ll never become a championship contender with the team they have. They are pretenders like no other team. To be honest, I think you have to get rid of Amar’e. It’s definitely sad to part ways with the guy who brought you back in the first place, and is somewhat disrespectful. However, it’s gotta be done. This is no hit on Amar’e’s game I love him. He’s a great talent but it’s the organizations fault for ruining the cast around him. He is also a less willing passer then Melo so I would rather get rid of him. I think trading him for Deron Williams could do the trick for them. Giving the Knicks a willing passer to run the offense and move the ball. Also, getting rid of Melo’s unnecessary twin. That’s just my opinion.

The Knicks are in the presence of superstars. No doubt. But if you really disect their problems, you’ll find they have two of the same player.

Problems in Knick World

If anybody thought the Knicks were going to instantly be a better team, they were wrong. They lost a big lead to Boston and only won because of lucky shots made by Melo. Tonight’s game against Golden State is atrocious. Winning by 8 points in the first half, then losing by 15 in the second. It’s all due to the lack of defense for 48 minutes. A common story in Knick world. Then there is their awful offense. I can’t believe I’d be saying this about a Mike D’antoni team but they can’t do a thing on the offensive end. When Amar’e and Melo aren’t scoring, like tonight, the Knicks have absolutely nothing. They have no flow, they have no playmakers with the ball. They have no passers and they look stagnant. They aren’t going to achieve any of the high expectations or goals set for themselves if they continue to play like this. Their offense cannot revolve solely around two players. They will get you 20 or so but then what? You’re stuck with Bibby shooting an old jump shot, and Bill Walker and Toney Douglas throwing up poor threes.

I realize these two games are just two out of a 66 game season. However, this game really shows the Knicks’ true colors. When their stars aren’t producing then this team is nothing. In a compressed season, they can’t count on two players to score for the whole team, or one player to defend for the whole team. They desperately need Iman Shumpert back, they need Baron Davis to distribute and they need an overall change of attitude. And culture. Ring a bell?

 

Christmas Day Predictions

As the clock hits 12 tomorrow the NBA season officially begins. Let’s take a look at the Christmas day match-ups. The winners and the losers.

Knicks vs. Celtics:

A repeat of the first round of the playoffs from last year. The Celtics swept the Knicks, however this year the Knicks are back with a vengeance. They drastically improved their roster this off season with additions like Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis among many others. This match-up should be very interesting. Or it should’ve been interesting, however recent changes in the Celtic roster have made this game a no brainer. Losing Jeff Green was a huge blow to their depth, and the injury of Paul Pierce just gives Melo more room to score. That means Marquis Daniels will start and that leaves the bench with…. Brandon Bass? That won’t be enough to hold off the Knicks, especially when the Celtics core are all in the mid 30’s and need breaks often. Tyson Chandler will also have whatever he wants in this game. He will most likely be guarded by Jermaine O’neal, a slower and shorter center. Tyson will have his way in the paint, and since Jermain O’neal isn’t an offensive weapon he will be able to play lots of help. Furthermore, Amar’e Stoudemire will play along the elbow and the perimeter causing Kevin Garnett to come out as well. Leaving Jermaine O’neal all alone. The guard play will be vital for the Celtics in order for them to win. Rajon Rondo has a large advantage over Toney Douglas, however Iman Shumpert has shown defensive capabilities as well as quickness and a 6’5 frame. He will need to step up this game, as well as Ray Allen. He will need to do more then just shoot, due to the absence of Paul Pierce. If I had to predict right now, I’d give it to the Knicks.

Heat vs. Mavericks:

A finals rematch, probably the most anticipated game of the Christmas match-ups. After winning the finals, the Mavericks made substantial changes to their roster. Letting Tyson Chandler, Deshawn Stevenson and J.J Barea go made the team softer. However, they added veterans Lamar Odom and Vince Carter. This game will be a test to see if the Mavericks still have the toughness and defense they had last year. Nobody will be able to guard Dirk in this game, because frankly, it’s impossible. He will get his share of points, no doubt. Lamar Odom will also be a threat on the floor, he and Bosh will be a great match-up considering they’re almost the same type of player. Then you have D-Wade and Lebron. It’s very rare that players can guard them. And this game will be no different. There is no way, an older Vince Carter can guard Lebron James. He’s slow, and he’s not interested in playing defense. At the shooting guard position there really is nobody to guard D-Wade except for Jason Terry. Although, the Dallas bench can still out battle the Miami bench, I will give this game to Miami. The loss of Tyson Chandler is bigger then they think, they lost toughness and a defensive anchor. Who’s really going to stop D-Wade and Lebron in the paint? Nobody.

Lakers vs. Bulls:

This game features the Bulls and the second best team in Los Angeles. The Lakers are out to prove that they can still win games, doubt has surrounded this team for weeks. Kobe’s injured, Bynum’s out, Lamars gone, the triangle offense is gone. Everything seems to have gone wrong, well unfortunately tomorrow won’t be the light at the end of the tunnel. I predict a Laker loss. Let me explain. The former MVP is going to destroy this whole team. It’s as simple as that. Derrick Fisher can’t guard him, neither can Kobe. He will get by the first man and Bynum will block him. Oh, wait Bynum is out. Pau isn’t a shot blocker and isn’t as intimidating as a Bynum. I forsee a Derrick Rose takeover tomorrow. Another strength of the Bulls is their bench. Taj Gibson…. 

Ya, remember him? Omer Asik and Kyle Korver are other names among the young bench who averaged around 27 points a game last season. Another weakness of the Lakers is their bench. They lost the 6th man of the year in Lamar Odom, and they lost Shannon Brown. Now that Bynum is out for 5 games, they have to move Josh McRoberts into the starting lineup, which leaves the Laker bench with…. Matt Barnes? Steve Blake? That won’t get the job done. Among all this doubt, there is a strength that the Lakers have. An angry Kobe Bryant. Kobe is the type of player to go off when he is mad, and oh boy does he have things to be mad about. His wife left him, he tore ligaments in his wrist, the front office traded Lamar Odom, and Mike Brown was appointed without any discussion. Even though he might go crazy tomorrow, that won’t be enough to get past Derrick Rose, the Bulls defense and their bench. I’ll give this one to the Bulls.

Thunder vs Magic:

The Magic fans will be happy to see Dwight Howard on the floor in an official game as a member of the Orlando Magic. They won’t be happy to watch their team get beat by the Thunder. The Thunder pride themselves in their defense and their energy. Their young talent and their scoring champion in Kevin Durant. I bet Kevin Durant is smiling somewhere right now as he thinks about the poor perimeter defense he will match up against tomorrow night. Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson. What a joke. Kevin Durant will rip them up from all over the floor. As well as his partner in crime Russell Westbrook. Who has no problem being guarded by Jameer Nelson. I bet James Harden is even looking forward to the loose defense of the Magic. However, getting to the basket will be harder then ever. Whenever you’re up against Dwight Howard you know points in the paint won’t come easy. He should have his way in the middle, nobody on the Thunder can really out muscle him. They do have a good chance of constraining him though, considering the depth at the power forward/center position. Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collinson and Cole Aldrich are all very defensive minded players and will try keep Dwight Howard under control, but we all know that’s close to impossible. The depth is also a huge problem with the Magic. Besides Big Baby Davis and Quentin Richardson the bench is pretty empty. Everyone else is inconsistent and won’t be a match for the young and energetic  bench who scored around 30 points a game last season. This game will go to the Thunder. I will also predict that this win against the Magic will be the beginning of their finals run. A win in the finals? Possibly but this could be the beginning of something special.

Clippers vs. Warriors:

The world is buzzing about the Los Angeles Clippers. The most exciting team in sports right now. The “Lob Angeles Clippers,” they’ve been dubbed. The talents of Blake Griffin and CP3 combined seems like something out of a video game. I would say they scored the biggest this off season with the additions of Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Chris Paul. They’ve proved they’re no fluke, while beating the Lakers in both preseason games. I could see this game being more of a challenge for the Clippers. The Warriors actually have players who can stay with CP3. Stephen Curry has shown defensive aptitude in his career and although Monta Ellis isn’t a defensive minded guy he can still keep with CP3.  The Warriors bench is also very young and talented. Ekpe Udoh, Klay Thompson, and Brandon Rush are among the bench. They will provide a boost of energy for the Warriors if they need it. Unlike the Lakers, the Warriors are a very young team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they really give the Clippers a run for their money. This match-up is especially interesting because  neither team really plays too much defense. This should be a score-a-thon. Both teams somwhere in the 100’s. The X-factor in this game for me is DeAndre Jordan. Blake Griffin will pound David Lee down low, he isn’t quick or strong enough to guard him. DeAndre Jordan is the key to a Clippers loss or win. It is yet to be seen if he can be a defensive anchor in the middle, if he can man the paint and provide an intimidation factor, then Monta Ellis and Steph Curry will have a harder time scoring. If he ignores the defensive end, then this game will come down to who can outscore the other. We’ll see. I’m going to be spontaneous and give this one to the Warriors. I have to have at least one surprise. I think the Clipper mania will come to a halt when the Warriors come out of nowhere and beat the Clippers.

What do you think? Comment who you have to win each game. Only 13  hours until tip-off. Here we go!

Does New York Have a Contender?

With the unofficial addition of Baron Davis, we begin to wonder if the expectation of a title could be realistic. The Knicks have the best front-court in the NBA with Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler. The rookie Iman Shumpert showed tons of potential in New York’s preseason game in New Jersey. The gap in their roster was in the backcourt and on the bench. Now that they’ve added an experienced veteran in Baron Davis, the backcourt is more experienced and the roster is deeper. If D’antoni decides to start Baron when he is fully healthy, there is an option of Shumpert, Douglas or Bibby coming off the bench. That’s a lot of options, especially when Douglas can play the 2.

How does this team stack up against the elite teams in the NBA? This offseason, they really made a jump from an average team, to an elite team. However, the expectations of winning a championship put a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Let’s analyze their game and see if they have what it takes.

Offense:

We all know the Knicks can score. With Carmelo and Amar’e combining for around 50 points a game, offense is never a concern. Especially when your coach is the infamous offensive minded man that is Mike D’antoni. Surrounding their two offensive stars, Tony Douglas, Landry Fields, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert have all shown they have offensive talent. And the three ball. A deadly weapon. Their backcourt was only concern. They have four options to pick from for point guard. Now that Baron Davis is here, he and Mike Bibby can mentor the younger guards and bring experience. Let’s not forget how dangerous Baron Davis is when healthy. 

Defense:

This is the really big question for the new look knicks this season. Defense has been their weakness every season. The addition of Tyson Chandler filled a hole in the front court, and provided a defensive presence in the paint. He brought wear and tear, and toughness to a “soft” Dallas team last year, and is trying to do the same with the Knicks. Don’t underestimate the perimeter defense either. Landry Fields and Toney Douglas have proven themselves as capable perimeter defenders. Iman Shumpert also showed his defensive aptitude in the preaseason game against the Nets. Iman End to End The team defense, however is the concern. Communication isn’t a problem on this team. They have leaders, and talking to one another won’t be an issue. The issue will be working together as a team and playing defense for 48 minutes. Something Amar’e and Melo aren’t known for. No matter how good Tyson is in the paint, he can’t play defense for a whole team.

Bench:

Depth was a huge problem for the Knicks last season. After giving up practically all of their young talent in the “Melo Drama”, they were left with few assets. They’re depth in the backcourt won’t be a problem. They have four options at the point guard position. The frontcourt depth is a bit of a problem though. Renaldo Balkman won’t put up 20 points every night like he did on Saturday. Jerome Jordan, and Josh Harrelson are young players with little experience. They will have to really step up to help out when the Knicks’ dangerous starting front court takes a break. That might not be enough to win a championship. Depth is everything. It was the difference in the finals last year. The Heat were extremely limited and the Mavericks had J.J Barea and Jason Terry putting up double digits every game.

With all the new assets the Knicks are certainly a contender and a legitimate team for the first time in recent memory. However, the bar may be a bit too high for the Knicks at this point. They will hold their own against the elite but still have to prove themselves as a team. Only time will tell.