Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Return of the Prodigal Moron

So the word on the Intertubes is that Isiah Thomas, also known as the man Knicks Fan most wants to be set on fire, drowned, buried, decapitated and then it gets personal... wants his due credit for the fact that the team paid a king's ransom to acquire Carmelo Anthony and 35-year-old Chauncey Billups. And all I can say is... classic, classic Zeke. Take credit for the move now, before anyone can tell if it actually works out, because in all likelihood, it won't. And I'm not just saying that because I have no use for Thomas, or think that in a better world he'd be doing time for the whole sexual harassment situation, but just, well, from having seen what happens when 'Melo gets paired with a high usage offensive first player before. Because he got the last good years of Allen Iverson, and those were actually pretty good years. You might recall those Nugget teams winning 50 regular season games a year, then getting pimp-slapped in the first round by the Lakers. Feel free to swap in the Celtics, and you get how this will likely end. Very different!

And sure, it's insane to compare Amar'e Stoudamire to AI, since they are wildly different players... but, well, still. The Knicks are going to be playing up-tempo basketball without a bench, or a net. Their best player is still going to be a guy (Amar'e, of course) who has had microfracture surgery and serious eye issues, and who hasn't been the same since coach Mike D'Antoni gave him way too many minutes in way too few games about a month ago. And neither guy is terribly adept at making his teammates better, caring about defense for every position, or not going into Hero Mode when things start to get rough.

Could this work? Sure; the East are not filled with juggernauts, and since Knick Fan was ready to plotz over a .500 team and a playoff berth, he could really go for a .550 team with a chance to actually steal a first round series. If they catch Boston with injuries, the Heat with alpha dog and final minute issues, or the Bulls with Joakim Noah integration trouble, they could seem much less fraudulent than they probably are. The bar is not very high here at all, really, and if they are still in the market for more parts (a more up-tempo alternative to Billups, a three-point shooter to replace Danilo Gallinari, a better center idea than Rony Turiaf, or just a couple of stray dog defenders to go with rookie find Landry Fields), Knick Fan could be as happy as they've been in, well, decades.

But the overwhelmingly more likely alternative is that Zeke has presided over yet another Frankenstein's Monster of a team, with intriguing parts that don't fit, stars that don't defend, and an overall lack of ball movement or depth that will wind up causing the starters to get run into disrepair to keep important games close. And if -- or more likely, when -- Stoudamire gets dinged up... well, Anthony is going to look around and see a much worse roster than he left behind in Denver. And hear it from a much less forgiving fan than the ones that rooted for him since he was the dew-eyed savior, in a division where he gets thugged up by the dirty old men in Boston and the stat-killing defensive hammer that is Andre Iguodala in Philly, in a conference where Miami's already got their own super group, Orlando's got the best center and Chicago's got the best point guard and talent roster.

Oh, and if Donnie Walsh has any pride, sense or options, he'll also have the worst GM in NBA history at the helm, with Zeke coming back to receive his just dessert and credit for making the latest roster.

I actually hope I'm wrong, in that 'Melo got my college a championship, and no one needs to see a repeat of the Zach Randolph Experience in New York.

But really... Isiah Thomas is involved, Knick Fan. You sure you still want to be hopeful about all this?

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