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Sunday April 24, 2011 11:06 pm

Don’t Believe the New York Knicks and ‘Melo Hype, It’s a Sequel!




Posted by Dennis Velasco Categories: Athletes, Editorial, NBA, News,

Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire walking away in disappointmentThis must be a tough pill going down the throats of the New York Knicks and their fans as the team became victims of a Boston Celtics sweep, becoming the 2011 NBA Playoffs first victims. In the first two games (87-85 and 96-93 Celtics victories), the Knicks could have easily been the victors in both. However, in the end, it was the Celtics' championship pedigree and experience that helped them pull away and score just enough points to win. Emotionally, it had to be debilitating to come so close, but come up with the loss despite valiant efforts on the road.

However, with Game Three, there was renewed hope, piggybacking on the first two games and near wins. Yet, it wasn't even close. Where was the heart from Game Two? Carmelo Anthony hardly did anything, which was somewhat surprising considering his heroic effort in the previous game. Granted Amar'e Stoudemire was hurt, but he at least tried and did well considering the circumstances (to be clear, for having a hurt back, playing amongst the muck that was the Knicks and their "defense," and for the lack of having support, including from 'Melo). It might have been more important for Chauncey Billups to be on the floor because he could at least direct the club and provide the ubiquitous, but useful, veteran savvy on the court. But the Knicks folded in their first playoff home game in seven years, looking for their first playoff victory in a decade, but defense wins in the postseason and the Knicks didn't play one iota of it in Game Three, losing 113-96. There was copious amounts of space between Ray Allen (32 points) and Paul Pierce (38 points), for example, and Knicks defenders. Rajon Rondo also turned in a triple-double (15 points, 11 rebounds, and 20 assists), seemingly finding his groove against the Knicks after a disappointing regular season. In Game Four, the defense was disappoinitng once again, especially after coming back from a 23-point deficit and getting back into the game. In the end, the same offensive set was run for Kevin Garnett and the Knicks seemed lost like they haven't seen that play a million times before. And with about a minute-and-a-half left and still within striking distance, they should have fouled Rondo, a horrendous shooter from the charity stripe, to stop the clock and give themselves a better chance to win. But, the team seemed lost and defeated already.

For all of the hype surrounding 'Melo and the subsequent "up to 49%" ticket price raise next season, this has to be a HUGE disappointment for Knicks fans. Especially when you consider that the Knicks have a losing record with 'Melo when you include the playoffs (14-14 during the regular season; 14-18, including the postseason). What was all of the hype about? Is 'Melo a superstar? Probably a superficial one that can further his marketability in New York, but it's known that 'Melo is a volume scorer and doesn't play any defense. It's undeniable that Anthony was a beast in Game Two, single-handedly keeping that team alive, but just like in every game in the series, he shot below 50% (14-for-30 for 42 points). In Game One, 'Melo shot 5-for-18 for 15 points; in Game Three, 4-for-16 for 15 points, and in Game Four, 10-for-24 for 32 points. That's 37.5%, which does not a superstar make.

However, there's more than just the inefficient scoring, there's the playoff record. In seven of his eight seasons (mostly with the Denver Nuggets), an allegedly 'Melo-led team did not advance past the first round of the playoffs. And it's not liked he didn't have a supporting cast either. Ignoring this season, there was Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Nene Hilario, J.R. Smith, Chris Anderson, Andre Miller, and Kenyon Martin to name several. Certainly not great players other than Allen Iverson, but very solid and excellent talents. Also, it's not like the teams Anthony played on with the Nuggets stunk as they won 43, 49, 44, 45, 50, 54, 53 wins since he played with them, which doesn't include this season's 50-win team. He just couldn't get it done for whatever reason. Don't believe the hype!

Would things be different if Billups and Stoudemire were 100% healthy? Maybe, who knows? If the Celtics actually made their easy shots in Game One, it would be a blowout. If the Celtics weren't outrebounded by 16 in Game Two, it would be a blowout. Who knows?

The Knicks hype for 2010-11 started before Anthony with promises of bringing LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade and/or Chris Bosh to the team. Obviously, it didn't happen. Then they signed Amar'e Stoudemire, which at least made the Knicks relevant again, taking a chance on a five year 100+ million dollar uninsured (knees) commitment. Then they overpaid, which most people that include Knicks fans will agree to. But, hey, it's 'Melo! And because it's 'Melo and the promise/hype of future seasons, Knicks fans will have to pay more next season. Yes, a two-game increase in wins and an appearance in the playoffs that ended up in a sweep justifies everything. Don't believe the hype!

As for the Knicks' future, no one can say or project accurately what may happen since the Collective Bargaining Agreement still needs to be hammered out, but what's funny is that when the team have cap space, there are no big free agents to go after. And they may have to commit to the $14 million extension with Billups since there aren't any attractive point guards in the market that are better. And when the Knicks have a draft pick, it's for what is considered one of the crappiest drafts ever (I'd agree... there aren't ANY franchise players for various reasons). It's the 2012 draft that is shaping up to be jam-packed, but the Knicks traded their pick for Tracy McGrady. Who knows what happens, but the Knicks will probably have the same type of team next season as they did this season and while they'll be relevant, they won't get far... again. Don't believe the hype... it's probably going to be a sequel.

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