The New York Knicks have won their first Atlantic Division title in 19 years, and of course Knick fans are getting excited about the team’s chances in the playoffs.
Credit the Knicks with winning the division title, yes. Credit them with winning over 50 games, yes, but don’t credit them with being anything more than they are. An also-ran.
The team isn’t going to the championship with Carmelo Anthony scoring 40 points a game. We saw that with Bernard King. Not that Bernard was not a Hall of Famer. He was, but his team was not. This Knick team is better than Bernard’s 1982-1987 teams. The best they did was win 47 games and lose in the Eastern Conference Semifinals versus the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics in 1983 and 1984. Bernard never got to play with Patrick Ewing. Together, they could have made history, but as it was, it was Bernard right, King left, all day and all night.
And though I see this Knick team possibly reaching the Eastern Conference finals, that’s certainly the limit. Sure, the Knicks can win a first round playoff against the Celtics (or so it seems with the Celtics currently the 7th seed), and maybe squeak by in a seven games vs. Indiana, Brooklyn or Chicago, but against the Miami Heat, you need more than one player shooting the ball. Remember what the Heat did to the Knicks in last year’s playoffs? Carmelo got his, but no one else backed him up. Could this year be different?
This year, it’s been Carmelo right, Anthony left, all day and all night. But we’ve seen that before with Bernard. Fine for high personal stats, but not a championship formula. To win a championship you need a team to play defense, pass the ball around, hit the open man and take advantage of matchups.
And when J.R. Smith comes into the game to take some of the scoring pressure off of Anthony, it’s the same exact story.
Look at the Los Angeles Lakers. Mike D’Antoni’s hiring has resulted in a less than satisfactory outcome except when Kobe scores less, and passes the ball more.
In the Knicks big win against the Oklahoma City Thunder a week ago, Anthony amassed zero assists. That’s right; he did not get even one, single assist. Is that a championship formula?
Until Anthony learns to follow in Michael Jordan’s footsteps, and get others more involved in the offense, the Knicks will disappoint. What Michael did that was magical was get everyone involved, so that when he was double teamed at the end of the game, he could pass and watch his teammate score. When Anthony does that you can talk Championship, but until then, it will be Bernard King‘s Knicks all over again.