For those of you either not keeping score at home or just too damn depressed over the fact that we lost to the goddamn Nets last night, today, February 21st, marks the one-year anniversary of the blockbuster mega-deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York.
Along with Melo came Chauncey Billups and lofty expectations. Out to Denver went Danilo “Gallo” Gallinari, Raymond “Cookie Dough From The Can” Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and Wilson Chandler. Also lost was a team; a sense of chemistry and camaraderie (and Landry Fields’ game) that us Knick fans wouldn’t see again until the emergence of Jeremy Lin this past month.
The controversial albeit short Carmelo Anthony era in New York has truly been a roller coaster ride in which we’ve seen the highest of highs and lowest of lows. For every game winning jumper and absolute one-man show Melo has graced upon our eyes (See: 42 and 16 in the TD Garden last April), there has been an equal number of frustrating disappointments (See: The 4th quarter of last nights’ game).
Before delving further into this topic, let me present The Carmelo Anthony Era By The Numbers:
Knicks Record Before Melo: 28-26
Knicks Record After Melo Trade (In 10-11): 14-14
Knicks Total Record After Melo Trade (Til Present): 30-31
Knicks Total Record With Melo In Lineup: 24-26
Knicks Record With Melo In Lineup (In ’11-12): 10-12
Knicks Total Record With Melo Out Of Lineup: 6-5
Soo…what conclusions can we draw from the above straight forward data?
A) Contrary to popular belief, the Knicks were a slighty above .500 basketball team before Melo
Everyone remembers that absolute tear the Knicks went on from late November to January. Everyone remembers Amare emerging as a legitimate MVP candidate. Everyone remembers that sick comeback against the Heat at the Garden on TNT. Few people remember that in the cold of February the Knicks’ play had leveled off considerably.
Blame it on D’Antoni running Felton into the ground. Blame it on Landry Fields cooling off after his scorching hot start as a rookie. But the team that the Knicks “broke up” to trade for Carmelo Anthony was a very average one.
B) Jeremy Lin or not, Knicks aren’t considerably better without Carmelo
Obviously the stat is skewed because of the games in late January where the Knicks had Toney
Struggless Douglas run the point and couldn’t score against the likes of Cleveland, but the Knicks are not statistically that better off with Carmelo out.
Bottom line is that yes, the Knicks did look considerably better and put together their most impressive stretch of the season with Carmelo out. But they also lost to a shit Hornets team and four other games without him. The major reason for the Knicks recent offensive surge was more about the emergence of a point guard who could penetrate and create easy baskets and open looks for other players, and a stellar defense.
You’re telling me that Bill Walker, who started in Melo’s place during our stretch, didn’t take at least 30 shots that made you wanna break your television? For everyone shitting on Melo over the past 24 hours, he was a definite upgrade over Billy Buckets, as poor as he played last night. The difference between last night and the past week was that other people did not hit shots that they’ve been consistently hitting.
At the end of the day, the Knicks collectively shot 40% from the field and 24% from three. Even Steve Novak-aine missed SIX threes last night. But yeah, it’s all Melo’s fault (who didn’t shoot ONE three pointer the entire game). You’re not gonna beat anyone in the NBA shooting 40% from the field, especially when the other team’s starting point guard (Deron Williams) is hitting everything he throws up.
Bottomline, last night was an aberration, and a very poorly-timed one at that. Lin and Carmelo will learn how the play together and the Knicks come playoff time, will be able to boast something that no other team in the league can: Two big-time fourth quarter closers.
But yeah…keep crying about Felton and Gallinari.