44 Questions Donnie Walsh is Probably Asking Himself about a Trade for Carmelo Anthony

Although my first choice also would have been Outkast, for variety's sake I'll go with Happy Valentine's Day! It's Monday (again!), so news is happening (still!), and Seth has everything covered on that front, from Earl Barron to Walt Frazier interviews, So, I decided to take time out of my Brain & Human Nature class to get in the brain of our favorite Walsh, Donnie, and try to figure out what is going through his mind in terms of trading for Carmelo Anthony. As per usual, unlike Gian's statistical analysis and Seth's newsy updates, I cannot contribute any sort of reality, but mostly questions to make you think and dated cultural references.

So let's let the dogs out and live la vida loca! Spice Girls!

For the sake of coherence, let me explain what exactly I tried to do. Basically, I sat in my seat and thought of how Donnie Walsh's job, Carmelo Anthony's seemingly available state and the Knicks' current team composition interplay with one another. Although we have all thought long and hard about whether or not we "want" Carmelo Anthony, I thought it may be helpful to ponder the far-reaching implications of a blockbuster trade in the same way that it must eat at Mr. Walsh. So, with a second-grade analysis of the Knicks, I began to think of what questions he may be currently asking himself.

Beginning with that second grade analysis, let's state some facts.

  • Based solely on record, the Knicks win about half the games they play.
  • On a typical victorious night, the Knicks can claim to have won by outscoring the opponent rather than by holding them below their expected point total (put simply, the Knicks rank 20th in defensive efficiency but seventh in the same offensive category).
  • On a typical night of defeat, the Knicks can claim to have lost due in large part to the rebounding discrepancy (put simply, the Knicks are the fourth worst rebounding team in professional basketball).
  • From these first three factoids, one can glean that the areas with the greatest potential for improvement are total team defense and rebounding.
Independently, let's look at the Knicks' line-up and how each player matches up with his opposition on a given night.
  1. Raymond Felton - In the context of the Eastern Conference point guards, only Derrick Rose has added a greater amount of wins to his team. Subjectively, the only Eastern Conference games during which Felton can assume to be greatly over-matched are games during which he plays Rajon Rondo or Derrick Rose. John Wall will get there probably as early as next year, but right now you could write a respectable argument that Raymond Felton is the third most valuable point guard in the East.
  2. Landry Fields - Solid defensive wing player who is underrated regarding nearly every aspect of his game. Although he has a ways to go, in terms of passing, team defense and ball handling, Landry Fields is undeniably a starting shooting guard going forward.
  3. Danilo Gallinari - An emerging offensive force, Danilo Gallinari ranks fourth in true shooting among all Eastern forwards. Unfortunately, his usage rate remains lower than Yi Jianlian's. Defensively, Gallinari remains underrated.
  4. Amar'e Stoudemire - Arguably the forward with the greatest discrepancy between offensive and defensive impact, an opposing big man who runs up against Amar'e Stoudemire can reasonably expect to lose his battle on a nightly basis.
  5. Timofey Mozgov - Still an enigma, the most important number in Mozgov's life remains 24 - his age.
Although the bench is important, I'd rather not address it at this juncture as so much of my questions pertain to that subject.
All of these Donnie Walsh-esque questions assume that Donnie Walsh has the ability to trade Wilson Chandler and spare parts for Carmelo Anthony.
  1. How much does Anthony duplicate Stoudemire's skill set?
  2. What does his presence do to Felton, Gallinari and Fields in terms of shot quantity?
  3. How about shot quality?
  4. Does Anthony make Stoudemire a permanent center?
  5. If so, who else stays inside with him, if anyone?
  6. Does Anthony's presence increase or decrease the quality of the Knicks' defense?
  7. What does his presence do for the Knicks' most important secondary weapon; the three point shot?
  8. Do Mozgov's minutes go away completely?
  9. If not, do Turiaf's?
  10. Would this trade relegate someone to a bench-only role?
  11. Would it make Shawne Williams obsolete?
  12. If so, is that a good or a bad thing?
  13. Does Bill Walker go away completely?
  14. Does Anthony's presence help Felton to rest more often?
  15. If Anthony comes in, what does that do to the Knicks' collective rebounding effort?
  16. Could the Knicks, with Carmelo Anthony, defeat the Hawks, Bulls or Magic in a playoff series?
  17. Will Mozgov's capability to defend the post appear in time to guard Dwight Howard, Al Horford or Joakim Noah?
  18. Is an edge at each forward position enough, or do the Knicks still require an elite guard?
  19. If so, who is that elite player and how will he be acquired?
  20. Is Danilo Gallinari the second or third best player on the current Knicks?
  21. Is acquiring an elite wing to take some burn from Gallinari a prudent move in the grand scheme of his development?
  22. Have Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari ever had simultaneous great games?
  23. How would Carmelo Anthony be different?
  24. Is "Danilo Gallinari takes a back seat to Carmelo Anthony" an efficient offensive methodology?
  25. How about defensive?
  26. If Gallinari/Anthony does not work out, does that make Gallinari a bench player?
  27. If so, would he embrace that role?
  28. If so, is that the proverbial "best case scenario?"
  29. If not, does Gallinari get the ax next?
  30. Who finishes games? More specifically, is Felton, Fields, Gallinari, Anthony & Stoudemire that line-up?
  31. If not, who is?
  32. If so, is this a viable defensive line-up?
  33. Particularly, is this a viable rebounding line-up?
  34. Is this a viable offensive line-up?
  35. What is the primary "crunch time" play? Isolation on Anthony, Pick-and-Roll with Felton and Stoudemire?
  36. If it's the former, does it make sense to have a $20 million player on your roster who doesn't get the ball in crunch time?
  37. If it's the latter, does it make sense to have a $20 million player on your roster who doesn't get the ball in crunch time?
  38. If the play remains the pick-and-roll, is Anthony a capable spot-up shooter?
  39. Is having only "token" centers on your roster a permanent liability?
  40. Assuming he develops at a high rate, will Mozgov ever really crack that game-ending line-up?
  41. Would this core be better in 2011-2012, or 2012-2013?
  42. Why?
  43. Is waiting for another superstar going to take too long?
  44. Is there an alternative?
Walsh's job dictates that he improves the team's weaknesses. Therefore, the most important question Walsh must ask himself while mulling over a trade for Carmelo Anthony is the following:
Will adding Carmelo Anthony for [whatever parts it may cost] increase the overall quality of the Knicks franchise in the long-term sense?

I do not envy this man. Expect more frequent posts and have a happy, healthy Valentine's Day everybody.
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