Yesterday I spent a couple of minutes chatting with AM NY’s Tim Herrera.
“It should be entertaining, but I think Boston is just too strong,” said Mike Kurylo of knickerblogger.net. “They have a better team structure. When the Knicks traded for Carmelo, they kind of got a ‘Franken-team.’ They really don’t have a team concept.”
A recurring theme in my recent posts is that since New York traded for Carmelo Anthony, they’ve lacked the complementary pieces to their two superstars. I’ve outlined this in the past, noting the Knicks need a big man rebounder/defender, a swingman defender, and a point guard that fits SSOL. Donnie Walsh grabbed Amar’e Stoudemire to be the heart of the team, and added Carmelo Anthony to be the legs that keeps the offense moving when things get stagnant. However the rest of his creation is ill-equipped to work with those parts. Over the last few weeks D’Antoni has experimented with different players and has taken longer looks at guys like Billy Walker, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Derrick Brown. Even the regular rotation guys like Shawne Williams, Jared Jeffries, or Ronny Turiaf aren’t ideal fits for the Knicks.
Boston really doesn’t have this problem. Their team is predicated on defense, and most of their pieces fit that mold. In fact, critics point out that the the Perkins/Green trade went against the Celtics team concept. And while the ‘Melo trade wasn’t exactly that, his skill set was different from those that were traded away and hence forced the team to adjust their style. Additionally the Knicks lost depth in the deal, which also has changed the fabric of the team.
One of the things that I spoke about with Tim that didn’t make print was what I felt to be the Knicks main advantage, namely their capricious nature. While Boston is a more established team, New York is still trying to find their identity. It’s easier to scout an opponent when they’ve had largely the same style and personnel over a few season. However a team that has only played together for a few weeks is less stable and might have the element of surprise. Of all the playoff teams, the Knicks are the ones I feel least comfortable predicting, and I’ve watched nearly every minute of their regular season games. Much like Frankenstein’s monster, the Knicks mish-mosh roster is unreliable. And given their underdog status, that isn’t such a bad thing to be.