Filed under: NBA | Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets, NBA, New York Knicks, Sports, trade, Wilson Chandler
You hear that steady sound of wind whistling by your house?
No, that isn’t mother nature. It’s a collection of NBA fans exhaling after a multi-month soap opera involving Carmelo Anthony and a host of “unnamed sources” and franchise altering blueprints.
It is unofficially official(as of late Monday night) that Carmelo Anthony will be headed to the Big Apple. With him go Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, and Renaldo Balkman. While the Denver Nuggets part ways with the former face of the franchise, they will receive a plethora of players. Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, the Knicks 2014 first rounder, and the Golden State Warrior’s ’12 and ’13 2nd rounders.
Rumor has it Gallinari and Mozgov will be flipped to the New Jersey Nets, but for the sake of clarity we’ll focus solely on what this means for the New York Knicks.
Spike Lee will have a new jersey to sport.
Oh, you mean to tell me this has serious Eastern Conference playoff ramifications written all over it? I would have never guessed.
Joking aside, there’s two trains of thought when evaluating this deal from a knee-jerk reaction. There’s the “everybody wins” soccer mom approach, which essentially takes the deal with a grain of salt and realizes both teams cured a growing pandemic. But there is also an “empire” state of mind that the New York Knicks gave up too much for ‘Melo.
While I question aspects of the trade, there’s no denying the deal needed to be done. The Knicks needed to take another step towards revitalizing the Mecca of basketball, and the Nuggets needed to rid themselves of a lackadaisical superstar who clearly did not care about his team any longer.
The Knicks took roughly 53 points a game in 4 players and shipped it to Denver for 41 points a game in 2 players, (sorry Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman, you don’t make the cut.) The Knicks also traded a point guard having his best season as a pro for an aging veteran who is statistically having one of his worst. Both young swingmen in Gallinari and Chandler are gone, and an already weak front line becomes even more depleted with the loss of Timofey Mozgov.
But what the Knicks do acquire is a star. While Gallinari and Chandler may have everlasting “potential,” we know what Carmelo Anthony can do. Hell, we know what Chauncey Billups can do. While the logistics of Mike D’Antoni’s offense clashing with 2 superstars may have to be worked out, the fact is the Knicks starting lineup became a much larger headache for opposing teams.
Beforehand, the Knicks were nothing more than a first round playoff filler. Sure, excitement about basketball was back in New York but they weren’t seriously considered contenders. While the jury is out on whether this team is now a serious contender, the expectations rise. Any team which pairs Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire won’t tread lightly, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the NBA.
But how much better is this new Knicks team?
If reports are accurate,(and I’m sure they aren’t) the Knicks would go into the 2nd half of the season without Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, and the aforementioned Knicks players. They would add the aforementioned Nuggets players as well as Corey Brewer.
on February 16th, the Knicks lineup was Raymond Felton/Landry Fields/Danilo Gallinari/Amar’e Stoudemire/Timofey Mozgov. Wilson Chandler, Ronnie Turiaf, Toney Douglas, and Shawne Williams were considered notable bench players.
When the Knicks take the court next, their lineup will consist of Chauncey Billups/Landry Fields/Carmelo Anthony/Amar’e Stoudemire/Ronnie Turiaf. Shawn Williams, Corey Brewer, and Toney Douglas will still be on the bench.
Undoubtedly, the Knicks improve their perimeter play. Carmelo Anthony brings 25 points a game, but more importantly playoff experience. With that comes the experience of Chauncey Billups, someone who knows how to play the game in important situations and can hit the big shot when called upon. Where Raymond Felton provides regular season triumph, Billups can conquer the playoffs. Where Gallinari and Chandler bring hope for the future, ‘Melo brings plain hope. Hope for now, hope for later, hope for everyone.
But will the Knicks be a Finals contender this season?
Unfortunately, that probably isn’t the case. As much as I like the direction of this team and feel they may be the next power in the East, they still have glaring issues. Ronnie Turiaf is not a starting center, he’s a great role player. The lack of depth behind the starting-5 in New York is scary, petrifying perhaps. They don’t have another center, or a defensive low post presence. In reality, the Knicks don’t have much defense at all. While Carmelo and Amar’e will shine in the regular season, I question whether they have what it takes to carry a team in the playoffs. The way I see it, both are more than willing to play Robin, but can either step up and provide the role of Batman?
The future is bright for the Knicks, but a lack of depth/talent surrounding their new fab-duo could haunt them come playoff time. Mike D’Antoni’s lack of defensive strategy might not be too great either, but that’s another blog for another time.
- Mark Chiarelli
You can follow Mark at http://www.twitter/com/Mark_Chiarelli.