5 Reasons Why Carmelo Anthony Isn’t the Problem for the New York Knicks
5 Reasons Why Carmelo Anthony Isn't the Problem
The New York Knicks are 20-32, but they still sit just 2.5 games back from a playoff spot. The playoffs are definitely possible with 30 games left in the season, but with the way the Knicks have been playing they'll be lucky to win half of their remaining games. There are holes all over the roster, and this season could end very quickly. Yet Carmelo Anthony is the league's second leading scorer with 27.3 PPG. Anthony is leading the league in minutes with 38.8 per game and is shooting a career best 41.6 percent from behind the three-point line. What is wrong with this picture?
Carmelo has always been criticized as a selfish player who takes all the shots and can't make the big shot at the end of a game. Most of this has been true, and I can't argue it because Anthony has a career playoff record of 23-43. But there are many reasons why Carmelo has never excelled on the NBA's biggest stage, even going back to his 2003-04 rookie season when his Denver Nuggets lost in five games to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In Denver, Anthony didn't have much of a team around him. The Nuggets only got better when they traded him and to think that the team's success had anything to do with his departure is nonsense. With Anthony they were an incomplete team, and he carried them as far as they could go. When the Nuggets received a group of young players from the Knicks, they became a competitive team. If the Knicks kept players like Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler instead of giving them up for Anthony, maybe they would be a better team right now. But the point is that the more complete team wins and continues to build on what they have.
When the Knicks traded for Carmelo Anthony, they thought their work was done. They believed he was the missing piece and then they'd instantly be a top 5 team, but that's where they were wrong. There are a lot of reasons why the Knicks aren't where they want to be or where they should be. These are five important reasons why the Knicks are a bad team right now, and Carmelo Anthony is to blame for none of them.
5. The Underachieving Amar'e Stoudemire
Amar'e Stoudemire has one more season remaining on his comical five-year, $99.7 million contract. It's hard to believe that just three years ago Amar'e was an MVP candidate. But as the bodies of most big men do, his began breaking down and he hasn't played a full season since 2010-11. In the time after, he's been in and out of the lineup and at no point has he shown any consistency in his game. Sure, he's had good games here and there and shown flashes of the dominant player he used to be. But the Knicks can't wait for his contract to expire next season, and it will be difficult for him to find a job during the summer of 2015. You can blame Carmelo for not being able to play alongside Amar'e all you want, but the truth is Stoudemire hasn't been healthy and he hasn't helped Carmelo's game in any way.
4. Steve Mills' Inability to Create a Decent Supporting Cast
Granted, Steve Mills took over this season, but he's done nothing at all to improve the Knicks roster. When Iman Shumpert's trade value was high, Mills had several chances to make something happen but failed to do so. The trade deadline is 48 hours away, and with the exception of a rumor or two floating around, it doesn't look likely that the Knicks make a move. This is the time to do something. If Mills doesn't make a splash before Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, the Knicks are basically conceding the season and looking forward to next year when they're only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot.
3. The Poor Coaching of Mike Woodson
Mike Woodson is not a bad coach by any means. He is a good coach who is just coaching badly. When Carmelo is on fire, he shouldn't leave the game until he misses a shot. Woodson has a tendency to pull him out for six minutes at a time right in the middle of a hot streak. Then it's no surprise when Anthony comes back into the game and looks like he hasn't shot in a week. Woodson will then keep the same five guys in for the entire third quarter, leaving them with no legs in the fourth. And if the game goes to overtime like it did in Sacramento last week, the Knicks can barely get up and down the court. Woodson needs to get back to basics and stop trying to make up for poor guard play with his coaching.
2. Raymond Felton's Horrendous Play
Raymond Felton was good in his first stint with the Knicks. He's an adequate point guard who can get to the rim and create plays. But this year, Felton is playing like one of the worst point guards in the league. He just plain stinks. He passes when he has a clear path to the rim, and then he shoots when guys are wide open on the perimeter. And not only does he shoot, but he misses 60 percent of the time. The point guard should be your smartest player, and when he's on the court he should have complete control of the play. Carmelo gets criticized for not being able to play off the ball and that he only plays well when he's always controlling the offense. It's simply not true. Just imagine how good Carmelo would be if he had Chris Paul or Kyrie Irving passing him the ball. Carmelo is a scorer and he needs an unselfish point guard to get him an open shot when the game is on the line.
1. Carmelo Anthony Is Not LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James will always be compared to each other for as long as they play. They were both drafted in 2003 at No. 1 and No. 3 overall respectively, so there will always be that link between them. For the first year or two of their careers, there actually was an argument as to who was the better player. But today, LeBron James is who he is and he wins championships because of the way he plays. He can do anything you ask of him on the court. He'll take over a game by scoring 20 points in the last quarter or he'll rack up 10 assists and let the rest of the team score the points. He'll drive through the defense, dunk and get back on defense to block a critical shot. Carmelo Anthony is a great scorer, but he isn't LeBron James. Carmelo is expected to carry a team the way LeBron does, and he simply is not that type of player. Carmelo needs the right supporting cast and then he will have a real chance at making a playoff run, whether it's with the Knicks or not.