New York Knicks

Although most Knicks fans were in support of the move, many now believe Phil Jackson’s re-signing of Carmelo Anthony will destroy things.

By David Hong

Ever since taking over as the New York Knicks president back in 2014, legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson hasn’t enjoyed much success with the team. A lot of his moves have backfired so far, and last season the Knicks won the fewest games in franchise history with an abysmal 17.

But his biggest mistake as Knicks GM may be his biggest move of all: re-signing star forward Carmelo Anthony.

People may be asking: “Why Melo, when he’s the only true superstar in your team?” Believe me, I have tried to support Melo through his time here. At this point, however, I simply cannot ignore the negatives.

Anthony, no doubt, is one of the best pure scorers you will see in the NBA. He can score the ball from anywhere on the floor while rolling as one of the most dominant one-on-one scorers you will ever find. Heck, Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce – who was an NBA champion back during his prolonged years with the Boston Celtics – mentioned that he thought Melo is the most unstoppable offensive player there is.

Scoring is not his problem. It’s the other attributes in his game and also the level of success his teams have had in the past.

Despite being one of the top scorers in the NBA for years, Melo’s teams have never enjoyed consistent winning success whether it was back in his years with the Denver Nuggets or now with the Knicks. In his career, Melo has never won an NBA championship and has reached past the first round of the playoffs only twice (once with the Knicks in 2012-2013). The deepest he went in the playoffs was in the conference finals back in the 2008-2009 season with the Nuggets.

No matter how talented a guy is, a superstar’s legacy becomes defined through team success – namely, the NBA championship count. Melo has not won a championship yet and has not been too successful in the playoffs.

There may be some reasons to it. Other than his scoring, Melo doesn’t do much else on the court. He will occasionally rebound at times, but he doesn’t pass often mainly cause he has a scorers mindset and he doesn’t play consistent defense nor is the effort always there.

Another issue plaguing his superstar status comes down to his style of play. His scoring style simply doesn’t bode well in team ball. Melo likes to dominate with the ball in his hands and make plays on his own, which automatically brings out the dreaded isolation game. He likes to settle for one on one play with the ball, thus leaving the rest of his teammates standing. It may be good for individual play, but doesn’t lead to top notch efficiency.

Basketball is definitely better played when the ball is moving on all cylinders, which creates better shot opportunities all around (see the San Antonio Spurs). Iso play stops ball movement and the offense becomes stagnant, and we’ve seen that many times with the Knicks when Melo has the ball on his own and the offense stops.

As a result, Melo is not known to make others around him better. In fac,t he might haveve made some of his teammates worse with selfish play. Look no further than these examples forthcoming.

Amar’e Stoudemire was the toast of the town when he signed with the Knicks back in 2010. He played like an MVP candidate in the first half of the 2010-2011 season and led a once dormant Knicks team back to respectability. The ball was flowing like wine under then Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system.

Then came the Melo trade in February of 2011. Stoudemire’s career was never the same after that. Sure, he suffered a lot of various injuries that sapped his once explosiveness, but Melo’s presence and the fact that he also needed the ball down low, created friction down low and once Melo took over as the No. 1 offensive option for the Knicks. Suddenly Stoudemire was just another player on the low block.

Landry Fields, who was also one of the better role players for the Knicks before the Melo trade, disappeared after Melo came to town.

Then in 2012, Jeremy Lin became a Knicks sensation, starring the term we quickly came to know as Linsanity. Not only did Lin score 20+ points in his first several games during the Linsanity era, he did it without Melo, who was injured at that time. Coincidentally, the Knicks won 8-of-9 games during that stretch. The ball was moving well again with everyone on the offensive floor feeling involved.

When Melo came back, Lin was not the same, and the offense went back to stagnant mode.

Melo, also has had a questionable attitude and at times was all about himself more than the team. And based on his selfish, all about me style in regards to offense at times, it leaves much to be desired.

During the 2014 offseason, Phil Jackson re-signed Melo to a long term deal, deciding to build the Knicks around Anthony. So far it’s been a disaster. So far, Melo has failed to adapt to Phil’s famed triangle offense, unlike other supreme scorers who had previously figured it out (Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant).

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Melo also suffered a knee injury and missed the entire second half of last season thanks to surgery. So far this season, he still hasn’t looked 100% and looks like the knee has been bothering him a bit by getting off to a slow start so far. He’s averaging 21.8 points per game, but only shooting 37% from the field. There is also concern of whether Melo’s knee issue could be long term, and as Anthony is entering his 30s, he’s not getting any younger.

Melo’s long term contract makes it virtually impossible for the Knicks to sign other superstar free agents. Had the Knicks let go of Melo two summers ago, the Knicks would’ve enjoyed much more cap flexibility. It would’ve allowed Derek Fisher to center the organization around stud phenom Kristaps Porzingis while they looked for the eventual Robin to his Batman.

Melo’s recent knee injury could also make other teams wary of acquiring Anthony in a trade, should the Knicks try to move him.

It looks like the Knicks could be stuck with a past-the-prime Anthony for a long time. It’s obviously still an open argument, but as of right now this could already be Jackson’s biggest regret as Knicks president.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Seriously Hong, if you sit on the side lines spectating for too long, the only thing you can do is speculate, and everything you are saying is one sided and wrong. There are two types of people in sports, 1. The players and 2. The “confort zone” spectators (keyboard warriors) who think their expertise and opinion of players (the true warriors) matters. It’s easy to sit back and judge, but at the end of the day, you are spectating your life away whilst players out there are having a crack. My biggest argument against spectators is put your money where your month is, or don’t criticize players who are tenfolds better than you, whilst you have your arse planted on a seat behind your computer ready to hit the “post” button to publish your pre-fabricated bias article once a player is out of form. That’s a dogs game mate and there is no credibility unless you are of course more successful at basketball than someone like Carmelo. Also, Landry fields is still an average player, Jeremy Lin is still not much of a player at Houston – but obviously you’re bias because he is of Chinese decent, and Amare’s knees were blown before Melo got to NY. Keep in mind, Melo has been the sole star of each team he is on other than Allen Iverson. The choices in rosters in the Melo teams have been clumsy over his career, the only team that should be built around Carmelo is one with a star point guard and a strong defensive supportive cast, a second scorer and a run and gun bench line up. The only other time Melo had a cast like this was the 08-09 Nuggest with Chauncey Billups, which The nuggets almost challanged the Lakers in the Conference Finals. Your argument is bias and only tells half the story to portray your overly one sided argument.

    • Tom, he actually only mentioned Lin in passing. He spent more time on Stat, who was a long time establised star by the time he came to NY. The fact that the latter part of 2010-2011 and beginning of 2011-2012 was so bad occurred with Melo’s arrival is no coincidence. And to accuse the writer of racial bias is ironic when your posts is all about Lin or more accurately anti-Lin. Seems to me her you’re the racially biased one.

      • Haha wow, even got a called a loser which reflects well against your level of maturity. Interesting though, can you direct me back to where my post is ALL about Jeremy Lin? This is humorous I must say. And please point out how I am racially bias? Do you really think the reason the nuggets were good that was because of George Karl, and nothing to do with the players on the team actually winning the game? You must be living under a rock if you believe that. The players on the team make the team my friend, the coach governs them in his proposed direction. Yes you are right about Woodson, he wasn’t cut out for it. But Stoudamire and Melo are the same players, both offensive weapons who need the ball in their hand, both do not defend well so it was more or less a very silly selection decision from New Yorks part. The only teams that work in the NBA are the one’s that don’t sign players based on their profile only, but look at what pieces and attributes they need to establish their team. Stoudamire and Felton gelled well before because they both the play the pick and roll well, but bringing Melo who plays a different style of basketball and making the number offensive option was only going to disrupt that. If Melo had a Chris Paul type point guard and strong defensive centre you wold see similar success like the 08 – 09 Nuggets because that line up around Melo works. He has only had that team for 2.5 years in his career and made conference finals once.

        Please tell me where I said that I do not like Asians? Very big accusation make my uneducated friend, I did say that Landry Feilds and Lin are basically very poor examples to make point of as they are both average players to start with, if they had success in their new teams away from Melo then it would be a point worth arguing. This is my second “in a lifetime” post my but hurt friend and I just signed up because I disagreed with this argument entirely, as it was written by someone who sits on the side lines spectating, as it is easier to judge others from far away, than it is to judge himself closely. If you are going to write an article, do you research first and make sure it is accurate, not bias, and also, be careful making allegations that I am a racist because you could get charged for defamation and slander especially when it is not accurate. I many friends of Asian decent so it is not me who is discriminating.

        Do you play basketball pal? If so were you any good? If not, ask yourself, are you really in a position or relevant enough to be passing judgement on star players? Until you do what they can do, then please, do not comment!