The start of each new NBA season comes will all sorts of optimism…of both the realistic and delusional variety. At the moment, it appears that Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony is firmly planted in the latter of those categories. Here’s what he had to say to Ian Begley of ESPN.com when asked about New York’s championship aspirations:
“S—, we’re competing. People might not believe that, but we’re definitely competing for that,” Anthony said after training camp practice on Wednesday. “That’s always going to be the goal. Whether we get there or not depends on us and what we’re doing. That’s always our big-picture goal.”
Even in a relatively wide-open Eastern Conference, just making the playoffs will be a Himalyan feat for the Knicks, who are coming off their worst season in franchise history. To be fair, even though he struck out on all the big-name free agents this summer, president Phil Jackson still managed to make a few noticeable upgrades by adding Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez. But then again, he also believes Sasha Vujacic is going to be a “game-changer” and “significant force” for the team this season.
To make matters worse, Jackson remains stubbornly committed to the Triangle Offense (another area where Vujacic will purportedly help) despite disastrous results, and it appears Derek Fisher will defer even more to his guru’s judgment in the coming season. None of this bodes well for the team’s title hopes.
In ‘Melo’s defense (also not one of the Knicks’ strong points), how’s he supposed to respond to that line of inquiry? It’s like asking a player whether they can beat so-and-so in a game of one-on-one. Does anyone really expect them to say no? The question itself is designed to make them look bad either way. The best tactic, unfortunately, is to give some tired, boilerplate response about playing hard and working together, ad infinitum. And people wonder why media interactions are often so toothless and mind-numbing.
As cliche as it sounds, Anthony probably just should’ve said that the Knicks are focusing on being better than last season. Anything extra is a bonus.