If you’re a New York Knicks fan, you’ve been enjoying the rebirth of the team and you’re probably thinking, “I can’t wait until we get Carmelo!”.
Most people feel it’s a foregone conclusion that Carmelo will either come to the Big Apple in a trade this season or as a free agent over the summer. And while the addition of a big name like Carmelo makes sense from a business standpoint (he’ll put people in the seats) it doesn’t make a lot of sense on the court.
I’m a big NY fan and a big Amar’e fan. I loved Stoudemire with Phoenix and I love him even more with the Knickerbockers. Here’s the problem. Amar’e doesn’t play any D. Oh he’ll get up and block a shot here and there (he’s averaging more than 2 a game, 9th in the league) but look at the points he gives up to opposing centers and forwards.
His defense was a problem in Phoenix and it will be an ongoing problem in New York. Amar’e has always come from the Allen Iverson school of defense, believing good defense is scoring more points than the man guarding you. And right now it’s working for Amar’e. He’s second in the league in scoring (26.5 PPG) and had a nice run of 30+ point games snapped on Friday.
Here’s the thing; Bring in Carmelo and Amar’e’s points are going to drop. There’s no doubt that Carmelo will be deferred to more often and get the majority of shots. And when Amar’e isn’t scoring as much is he still outscoring the man guarding him? Not if it’s Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, or even KG.
That’s a problem. These are the big men the Knicks will face if they make the playoffs.
Carmelo isn’t any better. He scores 24.0 a game, but again, defends very little. If, and when, he joins the team either Wilson Chandler or Danilo Galinari will have to go. If it’s Chandler, he’s one of the better defenders on the Knicks and they’ll miss his 1.5 BPG and .7 SPG.
When Lebron came to town last week he dropped a triple double with 35 points. Think Carmelo is going to play him better? How about Carmelo against Paul Pierce?
Listen, don’t get me wrong. If you have the chance to bring in 24.0 PPG it’s generally a no-brainer. It’s a no brainer if you have Larry Brown or Pat Riley barking out a system that thrives on banging and lock down D. It’s a no brainer if you have a Charles Oakley, Dennis Rodman, or even a George Lynch willing to take a backseat offensively and play hard-nose defense.
But if you’re the Knicks you’ve got to stop and think, “Can we defend in the playoffs? How are we going to match up with the Heat? The Celts? The Magic?”
It’s no secret, defense wins championships and right now the Knicks don’t play it. ‘Melo isn’t going to either.