The most overrated situation is calling a squad somebody’s team. For the New York Knicks, this doesn’t apply for either Carmelo Anthony or Kristaps Porzingis.
What is this nonsense about an NBA team operated and run by a singular player? In most cases, it makes no sense.
Admittedly, there are certain situations the shoe fits.
For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers are LeBron James‘s squad. When he decides to leave — like in 2010 when he took his talents to South Beach, for example — the Cavs literally lose 40 wins and drop to the cellar of the NBA. The man is that good, that legendary. He’s an immortal.
Other examples could also be bandied about. Now that Kevin Durant took his soft act to The Bay, the Oklahoma City Thunder are Russel Westbrook’s team. The Houston Rockets — well, now that Mike D’Antoni is on the bench, belong to James Harden.
Aside from those few examples, you’d be hard-pressed to find an NBA team that belongs to one, singular player.
This is particularly true for the New York Knicks.
Obviously, Carmelo Anthony is the guy. He’s the captain, the 32-year-old star veteran who each guy leans heavily upon. He’s the face of the Knickerbockers franchise.
It doesn’t mean the Knicks are his team.
When Melo leaves the game, New York, oftentimes, doesn’t miss a beat. Take Tuesday night in Phoenix for example. Melo, not playing in the fourth quarter, watched and cheered on Kristaps Porzingis and a host of bench players as they overcame a double-digit deficit to actually take the lead on the Suns. Guys like Ron Baker, Justin Holiday, and Lance Thomas were the dudes who got it done.
That would never happen in Cleveland, and make no mistake about it, there’s no crime in not equalling the basketball acumen of LBJ. Nobody matches up.
As far as calling the Knicks KP’s team, let’s not get silly. The kid is 20-years old. He’s talented. He’s Phenomenal. But he’s nowhere near ready or on the level of a guy who’s truly that important to a certain squad’s success.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) December 14, 2016
Here’s the rub: the reason these questions surround the Knicks organization is all due to Melo’s actions over the course of a year and a half.
Other than the rumor concerning Melo’s frustration with the Porzingis selection (along with the rest of New York City), via a special Stephen A. Smith report, Anthony has been stellar in the KP publicity category.
Everything Porzingis has needed, Melo has provided. He’s been that big brother for a young Latvian trying to navigate his way through the Big Apple. He’s allowed the “KP full steam ahead” narrative to fully flow off his shoulders.
For the good of the Knicks, Melo has handled everything Porzingis correctly.
He’s even changed his game for the better.
While the 2015-16 season wasn’t a banner year for New York, from the outset, Melo was a changed player. There were fewer black holes on offense and more flow through Melo. He looked to get other involved on a consistent basis. His 4.2 assists per game easily marked a career high.
This mindset has led to a very balanced 2016-17.
After the Suns game, KP’s PER (Player Efficiency Rating) ranked second on the team at 19.9. Anthony’s comes out to third at 18.4. Melo leads the team in scoring at 22 a game (.421 field goal percentage). Porzingis comes in at second with a cool 20.6 (.459 field goal percentage).
While it’s true that the NBA is a league comprised of superstars first and squads second, the true balance New York showcases on a nightly basis lends to a terrific scenario.
Eventually, Kristaps Porzingis will eventually become the face of the Knicks franchise. It won’t happen for a while, however, Carmelo Anthony is still the leader, captain, and the most decorated Knicks baller.
Even still, neither guy is close to actually owning the title of “his team.”
Thanks to KP’s rise and Melo’s attitude, a true balance and team atmosphere rules the locker room.