As the media horde horde began christian louboutin peeling away one by one from Carmelo Anthony’s locker late Monday night, the Knicks captain suddenly had an epiphany.
“There are a million of you guys,” Anthony said to one reporter. “I can’t win.”
Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Knicks’ blockbuster trade for Anthony, one of the NBA’s greatest scorers and enigmas.
It was Garden chairman James Dolan who orchestrated the deal to bring Anthony to New York and in turn bring hope to a desperate fan base.
The following day, Anthony was given a hero’s welcome at the Garden. Remember the song — “ Coming Home” — and the accompanying video? Within days, the club announced that it was raising ticket prices. Fans’ expectations went through the roof. The Melo era was officially underway.
And yet, 12 months after that franchise-altering transaction, the one question that was asked about Anthony on Feb. 22, 2011 remains unanswered today. To paraphrase Melo himself, “Can he win?”
Anthony is arguably the most scrutinized star athlete in New York today.
He’s got the lucrative contract, the impressive stats and the All-Star appearances. What he doesn’t have is a playoff resume. He’s been out of the first round only once in his career and that includes last season’s loss to the Boston Celtics in four games.
Since acquiring Anthony from the Denver Nuggets, the Knicks have an overall record of 30-35, including a 16-17 mark this season.
Monday’s loss to the Nets was significant because it was Anthony’s first game in two weeks and his first since Jeremy Lin became a household name. The Knicks had won six of seven games without Anthony.
It’s unfair to blame the 100-92 loss on Anthony, who is recovering from a strained groin and is clearly not in top form. Deron Williams, obviously exhausted from hearing about Linsanity, scored 38 points and showed why he is an elite point guard.
Lin led the Knicks with 21 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
He also attempted a team-high 18 shots. In fact, the case could be made that Anthony (11 shots) didn’t shoot enough and that Lin shot too much. Or look at it this way: What would the reaction have been to Toney Douglas taking seven more shots than Anthony in a loss?
“Carmelo is one of the top 15 players in the league,” says one current NBA coach. “I don’t know why he’s so worried about fitting in with Jeremy Lin. Just play.”
The pressure to win in a city that hasn’t won Christian Louboutin 2011 a single playoff game in 10 years may be getting to Anthony.
Last season, he was dogged by questions about whether he could co-exist with Amar’e Stoudemire, and now those same unanswered questions are being raised about Anthony and Lin.
The problem, however, is that Anthony may not be a good fit with Mike D’Antoni’s offense. Anthony prefers to go one-on-one and needs the ball in his hands to make plays. Kobe Bryant is the same way.
But on Monday, Anthony tried to convince anyone who would listen that Lin, who has nine career starts, should be in charge of the offense.
“I want Jeremy to have the ball,” Anthony said. “Hands down, I want him to have the ball. I want him to create for me, create for Amar’e, create for everybody and still be as aggressive as he’s been in the past two weeks.
“I want that. There’s going to be times I have the ball in the pick-and-roll situation, being a distributor and trying to be aggressive. But for the most part I want Jeremy to have the ball in his hands.”
The words sounded as if Anthony is desperate to prove once and for all that he’s not a selfish player. The Garden also pursued on an image makeover by leaking a story that it was Anthony who suggested to D’Antoni that Lin get a chance.
However, D’Antoni denied that account on Monday, which undoubtedly is not sitting well with Dolan and perhaps also with Anthony. It’s like that old Godfather line: “Don’t ever take sides against the (Cablevision) family.”
For D’Antoni to go off script like that was telling and speaks to a larger issue of mistrust between the coach and Dolan, which probably started with Donnie Walsh being fired. D’Antoni could have easily gone along with the tale about Melo advocating Lin but chose not to.
It’s been a rough couple of days for Anthony. His current coach refuses to recite the company line about Melo inventing Linsanity while his former coach, George Karl, took a couple of subtle jabs by claiming that Anthony wants to get “that monkey of losing off his Christian Louboutin Simple Botta 100mm Leather Boots Coffee back” and that “he just hasn’t figured out” how to win yet.
And Anthony thought the media were tough on him.
Anthony would be better served just playing his game, ignoring what is being written and said about him and competing on every possession.