Sometimes it’s so simple that we get caught up over-thinking, trying to find the complicated part.
According to rumors and reports far and wide, the New York Knicks have a chance to acquire Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups this week, and all it would cost them is a point guard who isn’t as good as Billups, a small forward who isn’t as good as ‘Melo, a borderline starter/backup swingman, and a draft pick that won’t be made for another three years. And maybe it will cost them a 7-foot rookie whose NBA highlights so far include destroying the Pistons one time and getting Blake Griffin‘s palm-print on the back of his head. And why hasn’t this happened yet?
Who knows what the Knicks front office is thinking, but I know more than a few Knicks fans who don’t want the trade. The refrain I keep hearing them sounds a lot like this comment from Dime reader LMNOP: “I hope this doesn’t happen. It would be a typical Knicks move if it does. Give up all our young pieces, depth and flexibility just to add a slow-it-down halfcourt PG and a defenseless rebound-allergic scoring forward to an uptempo running team which scores the most points in the L but sucks at D and rebounding.”
So here’s the thing: The Knicks are only an uptempo team if coach Mike D’Antoni makes them uptempo. A coach is supposed to be able to adapt to his personnel, so if the Knicks did swap Ray Felton for a slower point guard — one who is more accomplished than Felton and has been more successful than Steve Nash — isn’t that up to D’Antoni to change the system? Isn’t it is job to not be completely stubborn if it makes sense to adjust his offense?
Oh, and there’s this: Chauncey is not exactly a turtle. Despite his deliberate individual pace, have you noticed that the Nuggets are actually the NBA’s highest-scoring team? They’re dropping 107.6 points per game through the All-Star break, a full point ahead of second-place New York, while shooting a higher field-goal percentage (47.6%) and getting to the free-throw line more often (23.8 FTA). Last season, the Nuggets were 3rd in the NBA in scoring, while the Knicks finished 9th.
So the evidence shows that an offense led by Chauncey is more efficient and more productive than the offense D’Antoni is currently putting on the floor.
When you equip Chauncey with a couple of weapons like Carmelo and Amar’e Stoudemire, with Landry Fields at the two, that’s a title-contending core. Right now. And aren’t the Knicks trying to win now, or would they rather set themselves up to maybe win later? Because Amar’e’s knees aren’t as sturdy as you think.
The proposed Nuggets/Knicks trade would give New York two of the 10 best players in the NBA, and a point guard who knows how to win championships. It’s that simple.