From the desk of: DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP
NEW YORK KNICKS: Melo! Melo Changes Everything.... Or Was That, Money Changes Everything? Whatever.
As we know by now, James Dolan held a private meeting with Carmelo Anthony, to discuss, of all things, the future status of their head coach. Publicly, Melo says he wants no part of that conversation. That's unfortunate. But in a small way, I don't blame him. More on that later.
First, talk about gratitude, huh? From day one, Mike Woodson was careful to not make the same mistake Mike D'Antoni did, which was to not give Carmelo Anthony what he wanted, meaning, the ball. Coach Woodson made it clear upon assuming the Knicks head coaching position, that he would be riding Melo like a mule, for as long and far as the small forward could carry them. We are now finding out just how far that is.
I do not know how or when it happened. Those of you who follow my blog know Melo has no friend in me. But at this point, I absolve him of blame for the current Knicks situation, on all counts but one. Carmelo Anthony did not support his coach with the same unwavering loyalty Mike Woodson invested in him. So, I guess from a coach's perspective, the present state of the Knicks is indeed a disaster, which was Coach Woodson's choice of word, not mine. And, I couldn't concur more.
In my opinion, the two are joined at the hip. If James Dolan fires Coach Woodson, then Carmelo Anthony needs to be traded, post haste. Carmelo Anthony perhaps needs to be traded anyway. The current cast of Knickerbockers is a bad mix. They need to be reconfigured. It is clear the Knicks can not surround Melo with a better supporting cast. Therefore, Melo must go, then cross your fingers, and bank on a good return. It's just that simple.
If anything, or anyone, is putting Coach Woodson's job in jeopardy, it is the sub-par play of Raymond Felton at the point. After that, we can start cherry picking reasons, like the lack of scoring from Tyson Chandler, or the drop in J.R. Smith's overall game since signing his contract, or Iman Shumpert taking steps backwards, or the infirmary of players they call a bench and supporting cast.
Making matters worse, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, and Melo, are all guilty of displaying apathy towards their coach this season. The only player to exhibit open support for his coach has been J.R. Smith - ironically, the one player Coach Woodson has been hardest on.
The Knicks entered Friday night's game against the Denver Nuggets with a 19-30 record, with matters deteriorating fast. Scuttlebutt around Madison Square Garden says Mike Woodson will be fired by the all-star game. So how did the team respond this evening? They trailed Denver 26-20 after the first quarter. Melo scored 13 of the Knicks 20 points.
Coach is not without his own faults. I'd be hard pressed to explain Mike Woodson's offensive philosophy with any conviction. The strategy seems part iso, part Melo, and part gonzo. With few set plays, poorly designed plays coming out of time-outs, and an inability to get his players to play collective defense, consider yourself up to date.
So why the big drop-off from last year when the Knicks won 54 games? Were Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, and Steve Novak, that influential, and integral to the Knicks success last season?
There is no clear answer. This season however, Carmelo Anthony has been made to shoulder the burden of putting the entire Knicks organization on is back. The owner, a pseudo-GM, a coach on the hot seat, eleven other second rate players, and a bewildered fan base, all look to Carmelo Anthony for everything.
He's Carmelo Anthony, not Meadowlark Lemon!
At this point, I can no longer begrudge Melo for his lack of professionalism, when earlier in the season, he smiled when saying he looked forward to becoming a free agent. When you're in-season, and under contract, that's disrespectful to all concerned parties. In fact, when Dolan initially acquired him, I thought he would be at the center of everything wrong with the Knicks. What Melo is, is a scorer, and a damn good one. There is nary a Knick on the floor who compliments his game. As it turned out, Melo is fine. Everything around him, however, is completely dysfunctional.
If it's about the money for Carmelo, he can make the most by staying with the Knicks. If he's determined to win a championship, he'd be smart to hop the next train from Penn Station out of the city. If the Knicks were smart, that puppet they call a GM would trade Carmelo Anthony at the deadline, in the best interests of the team.
Knicks won by the way, over Denver by a 117-90 final score. Melo scored 31 points. Amare came in big with 17 points.