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Can Amare and Melo coexist?
Posted By Daniel Sailofsky On Mar 20 2011 @ 4:56 pm In New York Knicks | 1 Comment
When the Carmelo Anthony mega-deal was finally completed on February 21st, New York was ready to party. The Knicks had their own “Big Three” in Amare, Melo, and Chauncey Billups, and they were ready to take the East by storm.
The problem is though, this hasn’t been the case. The Knicks have been a model of inconsistency since Melo’s arrival in the Big Apple. They’ve played .500 ball, with a 7-7 record that has included both a three game winning streak and a three game losing streak. They suffered a humbling loss to the woeful Cavs in their second game of the Melo era, only to come back and beat the vaunted Heat two days later in Miami. As I said, inconsistent.
The Knicks haven’t necessarily gotten any worse since Melo came over from Denver; the problem is that they haven’t really gotten any better. They still score at the same high rate, and excluding their 92-79 win over the Hawks, they still can’t really defend. They still rank 28th in the league in points allowed, and are 22nd in defensive efficiency. As much as Melo may have brought flash and publicity to New York, he hasn’t exactly brought much in the way of defence.
Another problem with the Melo experiment thus far has been the difficult task of incorporating him into the offence without taking away from the rest of the team. It’s clear D’Antoni is trying extremely hard to run sets that maximize both of his stars talents, but so far, the results haven’t been great. Amare has said that he wants the Knicks to return to their “up tempo” offence, and that the Knicks have become too “predictable” in their half court sets.
These comments might be considered a bit selfish on the part of Amare, but keep in mind that this was Amare’s team first. Amare was the guy who initially came here when no one else wanted to, and it is rightfully his team. If anything, Melo should be option number two, and Amare should remain the alpha dog.
Some people may think that this is exactly what Amare wants. I think it’s actually the opposite though. I think Amare realizes that he’s no longer the only star on Broadway now. Amare knows that in order for this team to reach its true potential, he and Melo need to play together. He knows that they won’t go anywhere without working together, and in addressing the Knicks need to get back to what was working pre-Melo, Amare has underlined an ever growing problem within the Knicks offence.
Just like Lebron and Wade have had and are still having some problems learning to play off each other, Melo and Amare are going to go through the same transition period. If both of these guys start passing the rock around and playing together within the system, the Knicks can become nearly impossible to stop offensively. If D’Antoni and his two stars can’t find a way to play together though, then this team will continue to toil in mediocrity.
Amare and Melo have a choice. They can either be two “me-first” guys on an average team, or two co-existing stars on a championship contender. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
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