A Historical Defense of Carmelo Anthony

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
–Winston Churchill

Time. One of the deepest mysteries known to man. Stay tuned…
Leaders Of The New School

The Knicks = mess.
After a season where they won an emotional 1st-round series against the hated, declining Celtics, clinching the last game in Boston, before losing in the 2nd-round to a physical team from the Midwest, a year later they’re below .500, their coach is on the hot seat, and rumors swirl that their franchise player may be gone.  Sounds like this year?
Try 1990-91.
The 1990 Knicks won a decisive game in Boston Garden, thanks down the stretch to their best player.

Last year, the Knicks won the decisive game in Boston, thanks down the stretch to their best player.

In ’90, a soon-to-turn 28-year old Ewing scored 28.6 per game and finished 3rd in MVP voting.
In ’13, 28-year old Carmelo Anthony scored 28.7 per game while finishing 3rd in MVP voting.
Ewing was heavily criticized because he wasn’t Michael Jordan.
Melo is often heavily criticized because he isn’t Lebron James.

Ewing tried to escape the 10-year contract he’d signed with the Knicks out of college via a clause that said if he wasn’t one of the 4 highest paid players in the league after 1990, he’d be declared a free agent. There has been speculation Carmelo may exercise the opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent this summer.
To extend the analogy even further: tall jump-shooting white dude Kiki Vandeweghe average 16.5 points per 36 minutes in ’90; tall jump-shooting white dude Andrea Bargnani is averaging 17.0 per 36 minutes this year.

Although Kiki never did this:

Eat a biscotti, KG.

Eat a biscotti, KG.

I shudder to think what the Knicks would have been like had they lost Ewing. It wasn’t till The Big Fella was gone that some people realized what they’d had. You were right, Joni Mitchell. Sometimes you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.

Carmelo isn’t the kind of player you move. You make moves to get a guy like that. It wasn’t too long ago that Melo played for Denver and the Nets wanted him. Bad. Like, restraining-order wanted him. Denver didn’t want to trade him. They did. How many playoff series have the Nuggets won since then? Same as the Nets: zero.

Who you gonna build around if you lose Melo? Kevin Love? Kyrie Irving? You think Melo’s not a winner? You know how many playoff rounds Chris Paul has won, Mr. Best PG In The NBA Who Everyone In Cultish Synchronicity Agrees Makes Teammates Better? Same as the Nuggets. Same as the Nets. But it’s not about who’s won how many rounds and having that determine their value.

The 2007 Cavs are rivaled only by the 2001 76ers as the worst team I have ever seen reach the NBA Finals. Yes, Lebron lost. But the best that team could do was make the Finals. You don’t need to win a ring to have had a successful season, no matter what ESPN or talk radio says. Almost none of the Ewing teams were title-worthy. Ewing had a prime of 11 years, before a cold night in Milwaukee, when Andrew Lang happened.

<Because there is a God, Youtube has no clips of Ewing’s wrist injury. If you saw it happen live, the scream he made is still ringing in your ears. What Kansas City was to Bernard King in the 80s, Milwaukee was to Ewing in the 90s>

In all that time, Ewing had a total of 3 All-Star appearances by teammates: Mark Jackson in ’88 and Starks & Oakley in ’94.
The Chicago Bulls in those same years—NOT counting MJ—had 9: 7 by Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant & BJ Armstrong each once. That doesn’t even include Dennis Rodman.
If the best players MJ ever teamed with were Starks and Oakley, he wouldn’t have 6 rings. He might not have 1.
Deal with it.

Lebron plays with 3 Hall of Famers. There are times Melo’s on the floor with what don’t even look like 3 NBA players.
Melo is not perfect. He’s not Lebron. Ewing wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t MJ. So what? No one’s Lebron besides Lebron. If the Knicks are going to win anything in the next 3-4 years, it’s only going to happen if it involves Carmelo. Trade him and you’re waiting, again, for something that hasn’t happened in the 68-year history of the New York Knickerbockers: getting the top player in the league on the Knicks.

The only Knick to win an MVP award was Willis Reed. Willis wasn’t better than Wilt. Or Russell. Or Oscar Robertson. He won because he was a great player on a team full of great players. Lebron is the best player in the league. He also played on a team full of great players. Carmelo plays on a team with zero great players. Chandler’s one-dimensionally great. So is STAT, when he’s healthy. There are a lot of problems with the Knicks. A LOT. Melo’s not one of them. What’s the answer? What’s the questions?

Time will tell. 

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