x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Carmelo Anthony more problem than answer for Knicks

The New York Knicks seem to go from one extreme to the other, running off win streaks and then dropping games like flies. It all proves Carmelo Anthony is more the problem than the answer.

When Carmelo Anthony, left, was out injured, Jeremy Lin, right, and the Knicks on a winning streak. Anthony has since returned and New York's fortunes have gone like this: win some, lose more.
When Carmelo Anthony, left, was out injured, Jeremy Lin, right, and the Knicks on a winning streak. Anthony has since returned and New York's fortunes have gone like this: win some, lose more.

The New York Knicks are the team who trade in extremes. They are the greatest. They are the worst. The coach is a genius. He is a no-hoper who had to go. Jeremy Lin is amazing. He is a fluke. Carmelo Anthony is the answer. He is the problem.

And the punch line? All this hyperbole comes with a thoroughly mediocre (24-25) team.

The Knicks are more soap opera than sports team, and it can be attributed to the owner, James Dolan, to the New York tabloids and to the city's infatuation with itself.

They still think Madison Square Garden is the centre of the basketball universe, even though the Knicks have not won an NBA title in 39 years. Yes, 39 years.

And now they are stuck with Anthony, whom Dolan was so certain was the player to lead a Knicks resurgence that he gave up most of his best players and a first-round draft pick to obtain "Melo" from the Denver Nuggets, and then signed him to a US$65 million (Dh239m) extension.

Since that trade, last season, the Knicks are 37-38, the Nuggets 44-29.

Anthony's scoring average has plummeted by six points per game, and he is making a career-low 39.9 per cent of his shots. He was out with an injury when Lin led the team on a seven-game winning streak, the only real excitement in New York this season.

In eight seasons in Denver, Anthony never led a deep play-offs run, and he seems unlikely to do so with the Knicks.

He is a great scorer but awful leader, extremes which perhaps makes him a perfect fit in New York.