‘Melo Out: It’s Not As Bad As It Sounds
We’re nearly halfway through the 2014-2015 NBA season, and instead of attempting a run for the playoffs, the Knicks are sticking to what they do best—making headlines. Reports have come out stating that 7-time all star, Carmelo Anthony will be put on the shelf for the remainder of the season, undoubtedly eliminating all hopes for a presence in the postseason. Given their underwhelming record of 5-31 it may be the most strategic move the ‘Bockers have made since signing Andrea Bargnani in 2013 (kidding).
“From the conversations I’ve been a part of, I think everybody is smart enough to realize, calendar wise, timing wise, that there may come a point that that’s the decision that needs to be made,” Fisher said Friday. “But [we realize] that we can’t force Carmelo to that point just yet.”
Critics may argue that making such an impactful decision this early in the season is rash or premature but let’s face it, the Knicks are averaging a disappointing 93.4 points per game (2nd worst in the league), 39.5 rebounds per game (2nd worst in the league), all with a record of 5-31—I’ll leave their current standing for you to determine. Of course with 46 games left on their remaining schedule, the idea that “anything is possible” will occur to the average hoops fan. But with poor play on both sides of the court, Melo’s nagging knee soreness, and the venerable triangle offense not panning out the way Coach Fisher and Phil Jackson envisioned, it seems as if this is the only sensible decision the Knicks’ front office can make at this time.
Keeping the 2-time Olympic gold medalist in street clothes all season isn’t all bad. Averaging 36 minutes and nearly 20 shot attempts a game, Carmelo leaves a lot of stat sheet for his fellow teammates to fill up. This can easily be seen as a blessing in disguise for a roster with budding young talent such as Tim Hardaway Jr. (who some may argue has been undergoing a sophomore slump) and rookie Cleanthony Early who is slowly making his return from a knee injury sustained earlier in the season. ‘Melo’s absence on the court will present a major opportunity for these underclassmen to prosper and most importantly learn the NBA game. But who are we kidding, we know what’s coming next summer—a slew of expiring contracts along with attractive free agents makes having Anthony sit out quite enticing for the New York front office.
Superstars’ taking a breather on the sidelines to rest their bodies has started to seem like a reoccurring trend across the association. Players and coaches for that matter are recognizing the significance of monitoring their stars minutes in hopes to have them at 100% come playoff time. Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is currently sidelined with knee soreness, and although a week ago he mentioned, “it’s pretty much been hurting all year,” he describes the big picture as “I got 41,000 minutes in my career including the playoffs. You [try to] drive that car in the wintertime [and see how it feels].” Teams are adopting the Gregg Popovich approach he has with his Spurs and you can’t blame them, as Coach Pop can give you 5 golden reasons to prove its impact on an organization.