The funny things about puzzles is that even though you think you have all the pieces laying in front of you, sometimes the pieces just don’t fit the way you think they should.
The 2013 New York Knicks are a puzzling team and despite them having what seems like all the pieces, the mystery is trying to get those pieces to fit together properly.
The Knicks certainly have the talent, but the big part of the mystery involves Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire and whether or not they can find a way to co-exist. Tyson Chandler needs thrown in that mix as well as when the Knicks’ Big Three was on the floor together last season, they were terrible, averaging only 95 points per 100 possessions.
Knicks legend and television color commentator Walt Frazier told the New York Times that the Knicks and head coach Mike Woodson need to figure out this puzzle fast.
“I think their window is a two-year window right now,” he said of the Knicks’ chances at a championship. “They have to capitalize right away…
“They better forget last year and do whatever it takes,” Frazier said of Anthony and Stoudemire. “They have to look at Miami and what LeBron James was able to do, Carmelo especially because James became the consummate player — defense, passing and whatever else it took for that team to get a championship.”
Frazier is correct to recognize the window is a short one. it’s almost a now or never situation for the Knicks in the next couple of seasons. However asking Anthony to turn in a LeBron-type effort in order to do so is simply wishful thinking as that is something not likely to happen.
James has always been a complete player and even though he didn’t get his ring until this season, LeBron always has had the ability to make his teammates better; Anthony has never shown that type of ability throughout his nine years in the NBA. Anthony is a pure scorer who does a little bit of the rest of what makes LeBron great, but he doesn’t do it well. Sure it’s easy to say that ‘Melo should be more like LeBron, but it’s not that easy.
It’s too late in Anthony’s career to ask him to be something else other than one of the game’s best pure scorers. Asking him to be more of a facilitator would be nice, but it would take away from him being the player that he is.
What he needs to do instead is produce LeBron-like results where it matters- in the win column.
Instead, Woodson needs to continue to use ‘Melo as a key offensive focal point, but Antony needs to allow the offense to go away from him more. Raymond Felton and Stoudemire had some good pick-and-roll chemistry in the past, if it works, run that a lot. Anthony needs to accept that in the name of winning.
That’s LeBron’s thinking. He put up MVP numbers last year but did it in the flow of what the Heat were trying to do on offense. That’s exactly what ‘Melo needs to do. Not play like LeBron, but think like him on the court.
Can he do it?
I have my doubts, but that remains to be seen.
If the Knicks are to win a championship, Anthony fitting in as a piece of the puzzle and not the whole puzzle could be the difference on how far this Knicks team can advance in the next couple of seasons.
That’s the funny thing about puzzles; you never know what shape they will take until they are finished.
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