Do you know what the New York Knicks have that most teams don’t? A superstar in Carmelo Anthony with the ability to lead the league in scoring and a track record of taking over games and a never disappointing in the clutch.
In the debate to either build around Anthony or rebuild completely, there is only response: If that doesn’t sound like a player to build your team around then who is?
Since Anthony signed with the Knicks, they have been unable to accomplish the one goal in mind: winning a championship – or at least remaining a winning franchise making noise in the playoffs. Instead, the Knicks have been a for certain first round exit or like last season, a team that couldn’t even make the playoffs, making themselves eligible for a lottery pick.
Time to rebuild again? The Knicks don’t actually have to go into a full rebuilding phase; they just need to recognize the best way to build around their designated franchise player.
The most obvious way is to actually put some talent around him. As you can see from Anthony’s previous seasons, he excels best when he’s actually playing with a good point guard, as all teams and good players do. The 2008-2009 Denver Nuggets team made it to the conference finals with their 1-2 punch in Anthony and champion point guard, Chauncey Billups. Jose Calderon is currently the Knicks starting point guard and although he is a crafty veteran that can pass and shoot, he doesn’t pose a threat to the leagues young, athletic point guards. It comes as a surprise that the Knicks didn’t use their fourth-round draft pick on a floor general.
Speaking of the draft, the Knicks did draft a stretch forward in Kristaps Porzingas that indeed has potential and gives the Knicks youth and possibly an additional scoring punch. However, Phil Jackson’s comments that Porzingas may be “too tall for the game” and the dreadful comparison to Shawn Bradley, shoots an arrow right into the hearts of Knicks’ fan. That isn’t the type of player to put around Anthony if this is true. Bradley wasn’t quite the desired player, so hopefully Porzingas’ body develops properly for the NBA.
Lastly, if the Knicks really want to accelerate their chances and return to being a relevant team, they need to consider bringing in another superstar to play alongside Anthony. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball, who wouldn’t want to play in New York?
Well, there’s been a current trend of players ditching the big market teams for smaller markets but all it takes is some recruitment from Anthony. Not much faith is being put into Phil Jackson and the front office, so if they want other stars in the mecca, it may take Anthony becoming more proactive with recruiting for it to actually happen. He should be searching for a star capable of helping him win now as well as someone young enough to lead the Knicks when Anthony is no longer able to be the main guy.
Although much needs to be considered for the Knicks, they did at least use the offseason to better their direction. Proven vets in Aaron Affalo, Robin Lopez and Kevin Seraphin will serve as complimentary players for the Knicks and Anthony in hopes for the playoffs.
Outside of additions, the Knicks should further consider new offensive sets. As we saw last season, the Triangle Offense doesn’t work for Knicks basketball. It may be time for head coach, Derek Fisher to take more direction in the on court schemes for the Knicks instead of front office honcho, Jackson. It may be the only way for Anthony to succeed properly with the Knicks.
The Knicks organization has a lot of work to do but one thing they do have going for them is a superstar player in Anthony. With Anthony’s ability to score, he can play another 10 years but only five of that counts as elite years.
If the Knicks want to win with Anthony as the franchise guy, they have to make changes now. Let’s see what the Knicks can do this season with a healthy Anthony, new acquisitions, a bunch of question marks and yet another big free agency period looming.