After a brutal 23 point loss to the Brooklyn Nets on a Martin Luther King Day matinee, the New York Knicks — and especially Carmelo Anthony — must come to this realization: to find the right answers they have to understand the right problems. If they don’t figure out how to accept the reality of their problems — and there are many — then they will never be able to overcome them.
Another recycled age-old adage.
This is where the Knicks find themselves after their fourth consecutive double-digit loss. That hopeful, revitalizing five-game winning streak, including a primetime victory over the Miami Heat just earlier this month seems so far away today.
And more fluke than truth.
Each loss not only piles on in the standings, and with Anthony’s impending free agency, it continues to construct a media storm surrounding this team that they are not built to handle.
Heck, according to Tyson Chandler, the de-facto leader of this team, they aren’t even built to play defense:
“I think we came to play. They outschemed us,” Chandler said. “They played to our defense as far their offensive scheme, knowing our rotations and knowing what we wanted to accomplish. Kind of putting us in vulnerable situations.”
Chandler’s words could be interpreted as a thinly-veiled shot at Mike Woodson and the coaching staff. The Knicks were caught switching frequently on pick and rolls and late on rotations, which allowed the Nets to find open shooters all over the floor.
“I don’t want to switch. I personally don’t like it. You come with a defensive plan and then every guy kind of mans up and takes his responsibility,” Chandler said. “I think switching should always be your last resort.”
Clearly these Knicks are not on board with Woodson, and it appears, with the season entering its second half, his days could be numbered in New York.
Whether he is to blame or not. But it can’t be likely that he lasts on the Knicks bench when players — keep the weight of Chandler’s voice in this locker room in mind — are talking like this for more than a week:
“We have to be a little more strategic about what we’re doing offensively and defensively, understand who has it going and what’s working (and) make it easier on guys out there,” Chandler said after than 14-point loss.
Ian Begley was not the only ESPN New York reporter to enlighten us on the Knicks internal turmoil today. Ian O’Connor dove straight into the Carmelo Anthony situation, and quite frankly, urged him to leave this mess:
Deep down, in a place he won’t likely unlock for public consumption, Anthony has to know the entire program around him is broken.
He has to know it’s time for him to cook up yet another exit strategy in pursuit of a championship ring.
“I didn’t think we would be in this situation,” Anthony said after his team fell to 15-26, and 7-14 at the Garden. “Honestly, I don’t really know how to deal with a situation like this. I’m learning. This is a first time for me.”
Given all the talk of Anthony’s postseason failures in Denver and New York, perhaps this was his way of reminding everyone that’s he’s never missed the playoffs since entering the league as a teenager, and a teenager who had already proven he could lead a team to a championship — at Syracuse.
But now Anthony stands a month away from the trading deadline and four months away from his 30th birthday. With free agency a reality in July, Melo has to decide if it’s time to run a fast break out of New York the way he ran a fast break out of Denver.
And why shouldn’t he leave, really, considering the co-workers assembled around him?
Harsh but telling words.
Those co-workers O’Connor is referring to do not appear to be getting any better before 2015, and nothing then is guaranteed.
Kevin Love and Kevin Durant are a pipe dream at best.
How can Anthony expect to woo a superstar like Durant or Love when he is not even sold himself?
It’s not uncommon to begin with one problem and discover another. Or in the Knicks’ case, another and then another and then another. Between the at-times selfish play of Anthony, the physical deterioration of Amar’e Stoudemire, the J.R. Smith never-ending circus, the poor roster moves and managerial decisions, player-coach feuds and everything that has plagued the Knicks since Anthony’s arrival, would anybody blink if he left New York?
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