Earlier this week the Utah Jazz walked into Madison Square Garden and handed the Knicks their seventh straight loss of the season. A jab-step two-pointer from Trey Burke found its way through the net while Carmelo Anthony and company stood in utter shock as the Jazz celebrated their second road victory of the year. Melo carried the scoring load for the Knicks with 49 points, but his 1 assist is a stat that should concern many including team president Phil Jackson. On Sunday the Knicks snapped their seven game slid with an impressive win over a struggling Denver Nuggets team. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith each scored 28 points, leading the team to the victory.
The Denver Nuggets are one of the worst teams in the Western Conference with a 2-7 record, but a win is a win if you’re a Knicks fan. The Knicks improved to a 3-7 record (second worst in the Eastern Conference), and the time could arrive where the Knicks will have to make some roster changes, starting with J.R. Smith, as he continues to offer nothing more than shot attempts for a team in dire need of a offensive distributor and floor leader.
Former Knick player Metta World Peace recently disclosed that he and Smith had a heated incident in the locker room after a game last season because World Peace was trying to get Smith to play harder on defense. Smith is a talented scorer, he showed up to play on Sunday night but his days in a Knicks uniform could be numbered.
How can the Knicks improve as a team?
I’m sure most of you would love nothing more than to throw a boot at my head for writing this, however, Melo is NOT the guy to lead this team, and blowing up part of this roster is the only way Phil Jackson can save this organization from an embarrassing season. Sure, Derrick Fisher is a first time coach and implementing the triangle offense takes time. I get that, but wheres the leadership among the players on the roster?
I think the Knicks are in dire need of a talented point guard who has the ability to include other players in the offense. I’m sure some will disagree, however, Melo isn’t the guy. Sure he can continue to serve as the primary scorer, but the rest of the team has to be involved in one way or another– the Knicks can’t defeat the better teams in the league with only two players in double digits. Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo would be the perfect player for the Knicks. He doesn’t take a ton of shots and you can bank on him averaging at least 10 assist per game, as he is leading the league in that category. As much as I’d like to see Rondo in a Knicks uniform, it may not happen, as the Celtics could be looking for more value before parting with their best all-around player.
I’m tired of people making excuses for Melo, sure he’s a great one-on-one scorer but his defense and leadership have been suspect for some time, and for some strange reason his energy doesn’t resonate with the rest of the team on most nights. I say it again. the Knicks need a leader, a general, a player who can involve the rest of his teammates– if you believe Melo is the guy, think again.
Realistically, I don’t see the Knicks making the playoffs this season with the current roster, not ahead of Charlotte, Brooklyn, or Atlanta — these teams play better as a collective unit.
I don’t think its time to panic, however, I do believe It’s time for the organization to make some personnel changes. What do you think?