Former New York Knicks great Bernard King was critical of the supporting cast put around Carmelo Anthony.
The New York Knicks have been a circus this season. They have fallen woefully short of their expectations coming into the season, as they had playoff aspirations. Currently, they have a record of 28-47; they are closer to a top-three pick than a playoff spot.
There are a number of reasons for the shortcoming. The Knicks changed direction last offseason. The rebuild was halted as Phil Jackson went after veterans to make a playoff push to appease Carmelo Anthony. That plan has backfired.
Derrick Rose has stayed relatively healthy but has been ineffective on the court. Joakim Noah has been a disaster, as injuries plagued him right from the start and a 20-game suspension capped things off. The Knicks were banking on those two players returning to the form they had with the Chicago Bulls when they were the class of the Eastern Conference, but it did not happen.
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Taking a look at the roster as a whole and you will see plenty of holes. The Knicks have a lot of offensive minded players, but not enough that excel defensively. The defense has been the biggest problem for the Knicks this season despite all of the headlines talking about the offense, specifically the triangle, virtually all season.
One player stuck between a rock and a hard place is Carmelo Anthony. Anthony wants to win, which is part of the reason that Jackson made the moves he did. But, Jackson has seemingly soured on Anthony.
He takes shots at Anthony whenever he gets the chance and has tried hard to trade him. Those efforts will go for naught, as Anthony has a full no-trade clause and a 15 percent trade kicker; two things Jackson agreed to give him in his contract extension.
The Anthony trade drama will continue until Anthony waives his no-trade clause or Jackson is gone. It is anyone’s guess to which comes first. But, one thing that is for sure, is that the roster needs an overhaul.
One person who can understand the position Anthony is in is Bernard King. The former Knicks great has some similarities to Anthony. He was a high-scoring small forward that was never able to get over the hump with the Knicks. Anthony is facing the same struggles, and King places part of the blame on the supporting cast around Anthony.
"“That’s a very tough position to be in,” King said before the Knicks’ 105-88 loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. “I know that Carmelo loves it here in New York. I know that he came back here when he was traded — and particularly when he was re-signed — with the idea that they would be in the position to win a title I can’t imagine what that must be like for him, having to think about potentially leaving New York and going somewhere else and pursuing that goal. Not that he wants to leave New York; he wants it to happen here. But you have to wait and see. But I feel for him every time I watch him.”“I’m just disappointed that he hasn’t had the cast around him that really would take him to the next level and meet that desire of winning a championship,” King said."
King also commented on the professional manner that Anthony has carried himself despite all of the distractions. There are flaws in Anthony’s game, but he has been committed to turning the Knicks around. He cannot do it himself and needs help in doing so.
Most of what King said is true. There has been no continuity with the Knicks since Anthony’s arrival, which would hurt even the best players. Anthony has played for five head coaches in seven seasons with the Knicks and has had 45 teammates in the past three seasons.
Those are difficult circumstances for anyone to succeed in. If Anthony ultimately wants to win, it may be in his best interest to go to another franchise that has a better foundation in place. The Knicks have a chance at landing another cornerstone player in the 2017 NBA Draft, but it could be years before he and Kristaps Porzingis reach their potential.