Earlier today, much esteemed Yahoo NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski published a scathing column detailing the weary position New York has placed themselves in for both the immediate and semi-distant future.
The Knicks are 7-9 with Anthony and still struggling to find success with ’Melo and Stoudemire on the court together. Anthony has never had to sacrifice in his career, but he does now. He ought to take a good, long look at Stoudemire, and see the way he’s reinvented himself with the Knicks. Stoudemire’s transformed everything because it was important to him. He hated the labels as a non-leader, an uninspired defender and rebounder. For now, the Knicks need Anthony to accept the notion that his sloppy, scattered and selfish basketball is intolerable. As one Eastern Conference assistant coach said: “He has a career worth of bad habits. They weren’t going to change in a month.”
Yikes, that doesn’t sound good. The article goes into further detail on the chances Donnie Walsh returns to Indiana (a strong possibility) and Isaiah Thomas’ influence is mentioned numerous times as the likely replacement (shudder). Reading this as a Knicks fan is one step above brutal and one step below long term depression. Last night the team didn’t just play poorly when it mattered, they broke down mentally; there wasn’t any issue with them being vastly inferior in the big book of talent, more a questionable lack of will that contributed to the loss. Carmelo Anthony is taking a large brunt of the blame which isn’t entirely fair. Last night he had a particularly hot shooting hand, played serviceable defense (for him) through three quarters on Paul Pierce, and had his eye busted open trying to make a steal in the game’s crucial sequence. So it goes in this league and in this city, that the star gets all the blame and all the accolades depending on who wins and who loses. It isn’t fair and it isn’t right, but instead of publicly crying “training camp” during the season’s stretch run, Anthony needs to man up even when the loss doesn’t fall under his wing of responsibility. It’s the price he must pay as a superstar in New York, and whether or not he can handle it will ultimately decide how he’s judged by the league’s least forgiving fan base.