February 21st, 2011 was suppose to be the start of something special right off the bat for the New York Knicks. That was the day Carmelo Anthony officially became a New York Knick. Officially deemed the savior for a team who hasn't won a championship since the '72-73 season.
If your a Knicks fan, like I am, how could you not be beyond ecstatic & think about the endless possibilities for a franchise with a superstar talent like Melo teaming up with fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire.
Melo is a 6 time All-Star, career 24.7 points per game scorer. Won a National Championship at Syracuse in his one & only season for the Orange. Taken with the 3rd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. To many basketball observers, the most complete scorer inside & out in the NBA. So, you can understand why this trade was kind of a big deal for us Knicks fans.
However, prior to the trade the Knicks were developing a real good chemistry with the likes of Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, a raw, but talented young big man in Timofey Mozgov, and the $100 million dollar man, Amare Stoudemire who was playing at a MVP level in his 1st season with the Knickerbockers.
All these players minus Amare were traded to the Denver Nuggets to acquire Carmelo Anthony. At the time no one cared the amount of players we had given up to get Melo. All we were happy about was the fact that he was finally in New York City where he belonged.
But, in order to become an elite team, a championship team you gotta have real chemistry, players who have played with each other & are familiar with each other. You have to stress defense over & over, and you gotta play as a TEAM.
With all the players the Knicks traded to get Carmelo, they became super thin & not deep at all. Even though with great individual talent (Melo, Amare) there was no team concept that half a season with Coach D'Antoni. With out a deep roster that was extra thin after Melo & Amare the Knicks were a little better than average as the 2011 playoffs started.
They faced the Boston Celtics in the opening round & were easily swept 4-0.
This season has been pretty much more of the same for Carmelo as a Knick. More inconsistent play individually & as a team. Finishing only a few games over .500 and being placed in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference they were aligned to face the #2 seeded Miami Heat. To date the New York Knicks are down 3-0 in the series to Miami.
This comes at a time when last night Carmelo played arguably the worst game of his Knicks career from both ends of the floor. Shooting 7 of 23 from the field for 22 points, while seeing his counterpart LeBron James dominate the game with 32 points, 17 of those in the 4th in a dreadful 87-70 loss.
Carmelo Anthony has the worst playoff record for a player in 20 years at 16-36. While the Knicks sine the Melo trade has been nothing better than average.
I'm a huge Carmelo Anthony fan, but i had to write this piece & break down Melo's career thus far as a Knick. I'm still happy we acquired him, but the numbers don't lie & nothing has changed yet since the move.
The Knicks will never become an elite, championship contender until Melo realizes he needs to mature & become the unquestioned leader for his ballclub. As good as Amare is & he did set the foundation to turn the Knicks around, this is Melo's team & it's time for him to step up or he'll be mentioned with the likes of Stephon Marbury. I don't think we want to revisit that again.