FanPost

Why Melo Won't Screw Things Up (and some Lin notes)

Let me start by saying that I don't really understand why some people seem to be very anti-Melo. And I'm glad P&T has largely not been riding the wave of "Will Melo screw it up?" phobia that's running all over the place. It pops up here and there, but it's definitely not widespread or virulent.

I do think that there's a level of irrationality that comes when people evaluate Melo over the Knicks failures this year and the Nuggets success since the trade, even though there are a wide range of variables (such as Knicks lack of a PG, trying to form a new team, the plethora of talented players Denver has that we didn't give them) that caused these outcomes.

Anyway, even though I believe that adjustments will be necessary and there will be growing pains (and that it's completely fair to wonder just how many adjustments will need to be made and how long it will take), I think there's a lot more evidence that the Melo-Lin combo will be a success.

1) He'll be replacing Bill Walker

This is the most obvious. Bill Walker is terrible at the game of basketball. He makes so many stupid mistakes and misses lots of shots. Melo should improve our team at both ends of the ball. I know Bill Walker doesn't take as many shots as Melo, but until Landry and Shump get more accurate, they can each give up a shot or two and Lin shouldn't be taking 20 shots a game. There is plenty of room for Melo to get his fair share of shots.

2) He's changed his game before

I actually don't think he has to change his game as much as other people might, but regardless, he's definitely showed a willingness to change his game. When he left Denver for NY people said he'd never fit because he can't hit the long ball, he came in and started hitting threes. At the end of the year people were saying it'd never work because he can't play D. This year has been seen the best defensive output of his career. His defense has been feisty and solid. We haven't had a genuine PG all year so he's been our top distributor, except he'd lock it down in the fourth quarter because he was also our best shooter. But people complained about that and boo'd that so he started passing more in the fourth quarter the week before he got injured.

He's stepped up to every challenge and changed his game according to what we needed. Why wouldn't he do it now.

3) D'Antoni has had success with "selfish" players before

Amar'e , Joe Johnson, and Shawn Marion all had reputations for being selfish scorers who only care about their own numbers and they all thrived in the D'Antoni system.

4) Melo has played his best next to a PG

Melo, like pretty much every NBA player, plays his best next to a PG. His best season came next to Andre Miller. He won't have to bring the ball up anymore. He'll be able to play off ball and play his proper position as opposed to playing some strange combo between his position and PG. I don't understand how Melo haters can claim he's lazy AND that he'll hurt a system where he has to do less work.

5) Linsanity is fun

Playing with Lin is damn fun! Just ask all the players who have. This is similar to the previous point in that it's an effect that a great point guard can have. It's fun to play with Nash, it's fun to play with Rubio, it's fun to play with Lin. You don't think Melo will enjoy being able to be the one dunking and not throwing the Ally-Oop. I think he'll still throw one or so up a game, but he'll probably get to throw down more dunks. Plus it's just fun! My favorite play in the Nets game was Melo passing to Amar'e passing to Tyson who threw down an open dunk ... passing is contagious.

6) Small sample so far so good

As said in the previous point we've seen him have some time with Lin. Not a lot, but some. And it's been good. He wasn't shooting well against the Nets so he stopped shooting and was happy to put the offense in Lin's hands. The start of the next game wasn't a problem either. He even got hurt throwing an awesome ally-oop to Tyson.

7) Pressure

Melo's not an idiot. He knows he'll be blamed if he comes in and we stop winning. He doesn't want that on him. Plus he kinda likes winning, so he'll want to keep that going best he can.

8) He hasn't been the problem people make him out to be

He's not the reason we've been losing this year. He's the reason we had the wins we did pre-Lin. He was our best player by far. He led us in points and assists. He took it by himself in the fourth because when he was double covered, the open man was Toney Douglas who couldn't hit anything and everyone else stood still. It seems like it was MDA's wishes he ISO. And as he showed us in the games he passed in crunch time there was a reason. He gave us the best chance to win. Our real problems were a lack of a real point guard, Amar'e and Landry played TERRIBLY even if they eventually got their legs under them, and TD ... well, it's too sad to talk about. The only way Melo hurt us was by getting injured.

9) Other players have made similar transitions

This has been pointed out by better writers than I, but Paul Pierce and Earl the Pearl made similar changes at a similar point in their careers. And their not the only ones. Even MJ had to make changes at a similar age to be "less selfish" that led to the championships he won.

10) Too many threats

With Amar'e, Melo, Lin and to a lesser extent Tyson, there will be too many threats on the floor. Someone will get open.

11) Everything Melo has said

Since Linsanity has broken out Melo has been ecstatic in his quotes. Going on about how great it is and how he can't wait to come back and be a part of him. Why doubt him? Oh, and he also encouraged D'Antoni to put Lin in that Nets game so he gets some credit for Linsanity and I think he's probably a fan.

Some Lin Notes

Everyone is remarking about how Lin has accomplished all this without STAT and Melo. But I think people are missing that he hasn't done it just without them, but without FIVE (FIVE!) rotation players. In a typical 9 man rotation that's a lot, but we all know how much MDA loves an 8 man rotation. That's pretty much the entire team. That said, I think Pringles will have to expand his rotation once everyone is back. But count it, Linsanity has occured without:

Melo

STAT

Jorts

TD

B Dizzle

If you had mentioned before the season that we'd win a single game where none of those guys played I'd think you were insane. They were all supposed to make major contributions to our team. And I still expect them to all be part of any successful playoffs rotation.

Lin is spectacular, but now that we've had two games where he's come down to earth a little, I feel more excited about him. We have a better idea of what his weaknesses are and they haven't been able to stop him from winning. Oh, and apparently shooting isn't one of them. He's been nailing his jumpers.

I guess I just need to point out how annoyed I am that people use his turnovers to tear him down. Yes, he gets a lot of them and he needs to get that number down, but it's a common problem among young PGs and one that can be overcome with practice, experience, and coaching. It hurts his game, but it doesn't make him a lesser player or hurt his long term outlook at all. He needs to improve his turnovers, free throw shooting, his going left, and avoiding traps. Although, those last two will go a long way in reducing his turnovers. But these are all things that can be improved. He has the work ethic to do it too and if there's one thing I trust MDA with above all else, it's coaching the PG position.

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