This trade has really bummed me out and has ruined what was for me the most enjoyable Knick season in a decade. As much as it bummed me out to give up young guys who I enjoyed watching play, I actually accepted that part pretty quickly. After all this is the NBA players get traded all the time. Actually what has ruined this season for me is the reaction of my fellow fans. And it is for that reason I have decided to write this post.
For all of the hyperventilating people were doing before this trade, we are actually worse now. After every win we are going to the finals, after every loss we now want the coach fired. When we are not doing that we are reporting on Denver's record since the trade. People just stop! First of all, we are not going to the finals, not this year and probably not next season either. Frankly there isn't anymore collective talent on this team after the trade than before it. Donnie nailed it when he said that we are still a rebuilding team we just have switched directions with this trade. Before Donnie's plan was to build up the supporting cast and then go get the second Superstar through free agency. It was a good plan too. He had cap money over the next two seasons to take a run at a second Superstar. Miss out on Anthony this year, well he could continue to upgrade the supporting talent around Amar'e then go after Williams, Paul, or Howard in 2012. Now he has used much of that supporting cast, and possibly much of this year's cap space to get the 2nd Superstar so now he has to go out and get a supporting cast.
Really folks once we get past the glitter of the two Superstars and Chauncey's resume, this team is not very talented. Fields, Douglas, and for the right price Shawne Williams are keepers going forward, but frankly the rest of the roster needs to be jettisoned. Really outside of the "Big Three" and the "Little Three," this roster is comprised of severely limited players of suspect NBA level talent. Carter, Mason Jr., Walker, Shel. Williams, and Turiaf could go 5 on 5 against a group of D-Leaguers and how many of you would be confident enough to bet the rent money or the house note on our guys winning that scrimmage? Hell I didn't even throw in Brown, Jeffries, Rautins, and Balkman in the mix, because I know they could not beat a group of D-Leaguers. Hell pick the right WNBA team and those guys might be in trouble! D"Antoni has played an average of 9 guys a night since this trade. That means every night he is playing at least three guys who are not really legitimate NBA players.
So given the lack of time together and the lack of legitimate NBA level talent playing in support of our star players, a 7-6 record is actually about right. In fact D'Antoni should be commended for the job has done not letting this whole thing go to hell in a hand basket. How many coaches of teams in playoff contention have their rosters disrupted to the extent that D'Antoni has 2/3rds of the way into the season. D'Antoni should be commended for the level of cohesion that the team has played with thus far. After all, this is the time of the year with all the travel and back to back games that a coach is lucky to get two solid practices in during a week. Yet people are reacting to this team's play like D'Antoni has had them for a full training camp and 68 games! Really people there are people making comments on how D'Antoni needs to establish a defensive culture and teach defense. That takes time and practices, which the Knicks do not have enough of at this time of the year.
So my suggestions are:
1. Get off D'Antoni's back he has done a fine job given the time he has and what he has been given to work with. Let Donnie get him a few more NBA level players (and please let at least one of them be a Center). Let him have a training camp at least to work with those players before you call for his head after every loss.
2. Realize that while we have upgraded the level of eye candy on this team, we did not upgrade the overall talent, so being roughly two games above .500 is where this team should be.
3. Realize that this trade will not be properly evaluated for probablythe next two seasons after we are able to see what the level of talent Donnie, Isaiah, or whoever is running this team after April 30th is able to put around Carmelo and Amar'e. Championship contenders may have superstars but they also have good players around those superstars.
4. Understand that when we made the decision to bring in Billups, and Anthony, and add them to Stoudemire that any hope for the Knicks being a defensive juggernaut went out of the window. The Knicks are going to have to be a team that tries to beat opponents with its offense, and hope they can get just enough stops to build leads and pull out games. When we went in this direction that is what we committed to. Therefore, we probably have the only coach in the league that has a chance in hell of winning like that. Mike D'antoni was able to get to the Western Conference Finals twice playing that way, And if not for a freak injury to Joe Johnson one year, and a fight that resulted in 5 players including Amar'e Stoudemire being suspended in the other, he may have very well won at least one championship playing that style.
So let's enjoy our team, enjoy our superstars but be realistic okay people.