The article starts off speaking on the failure of Mike D’Antoni as Knicks head coach during the latest losing streak, but it quickly turns into Carmelo Anthony’s worst nightmare.
If you are a Melo detractor this will be your holy grail.
If you are a Melo supporter you will wonder who is throwing the player the Knicks gave up half their team for under the bus.
It is lost on no one that the Knicks’ free-fall coincides precisely with the return of Anthony. While Anthony was out with a groin injury, the Knicks won 6 of 7 games, including victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and defending champion Dallas Mavericks. With Lin leading D’Antoni’s offense, the Knicks played fast and free, spacing the floor, hitting the open man, and even improving defensively.
But the day Anthony returned, the Knicks lost to the struggling New Jersey Nets, starting a sorry stretch that has washed away all the feel-good emotions of Lin’s emergence and left them on the verge of missing the playoffs.
Management, the coaching staff and the players know Anthony is hurting the offense and in turn, the defensive morale, according to the sources. While D’Antoni’s offense calls for Anthony to plant himself on the wing at the 3-point line, he often creeps in to his favorite spot in the floor — the area between the elbow, the arc and the post. That kills the Knicks’ ability to run the high pick-and-roll and ruins the spacing that is so critical to D’Antoni’s offense.
“That’s at the very core of our problem,” one person close to the situation said. “That messes up the fluidity of the offense. Melo could do it, but he’s got to trust the offense.”
When Anthony first returned — and it still appears to be the case — Lin would bring the ball up court and try to run D’Antoni’s system. When Anthony would abandon the offense, Lin would not pass him the ball, which irritated Anthony, sources said. So when Lin tried to talk to Anthony on the court, Anthony would turn his back to the point guard and tune him out. The two never had heated exchanges, though, and the players tried to come to a compromise, agreeing to run D’Antoni’s system while also mixing in post-ups for Anthony.
“But it’s just a mess because D’Antoni’s system is not designed for that,” one source said.
With Anthony sapping the energy from the offense, the players often lose their incentive to play defense. But even when he’s trying to play defense, Amare Stoudemire struggles. Having spent almost his entire career in D’Antoni’s non-defensive system, Stoudemire has trouble making defensive reads and rotations. Anthony knows what to do defensively, but simply refuses to do it consistently, the sources said.