Deron Williams Should Have Been Knicks Point Guard of the Future
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Jeremy Lin is a great story, but it will take time to determine whether he is the real deal or a one-hit wonder. But that wouldn't be the case if Deron Williams, who scored 38 points for the Nets Monday, was in a Knicks uniform instead.
For that you can probably blame Knicks' owner James Dolan.
He became so obsessed with acquiring Carmelo Anthony last season that Donnie Walsh, general manager at the time, and his staff either ignored the fact that the Utah Jazz were shopping Williams or were powerless to do something about it.
Williams was the player the Knicks needed to man the point and complement Amar'e Stoudemire. Instead, they sent a package of young players to the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo, a scoring machine, but not suited to play alongside Stoudemire.
That was the Knicks' mistake, not emptying their roster of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov, all complimentary players, but none a superstar in the making.
If the Knicks had known that the Jazz were willing to trade Williams, they might have gotten him for the same package, maybe even less. And with Stoudemire and Williams working in tandem, they could have pursued role players who don't keep track of how many "touches" they get every game.
Lin's emergence has only highlighted the challenges ahead for coach Mike D'Antoni. A bench described as weak and lacking depth is now an embarrassment of riches. But how do you keep Baron Davis, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak, Landry Fields and Tyson Chandler in the mix when feeding Amar'e and Carmelo is the first priority.
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That would be daunting for Steve Nash, much less a rookie like Lin.
Perhaps D'Antoni can make it work. Perhaps Amar'e or Carmelo is willing to make the adjustment needed for the Knicks to contend for the NBA title. I covered the Knicks in the 1970s and was a beat writer when they acquired Earl Monroe from the Bullets. Earl the Pearl was a superstar and there was a lot of conjecture about whether he would be able to team with Walt Frazier in the same backcourt.
It worked out for the Knicks because Monroe was willing to defer to Frazier in his quest to win a ring. And teaming Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Dick Barnett and Phil Jackson, the Frazier/Monroe backcourt helped the Knicks win their second NBA championship in 1973.
Is Carmelo Anthony capable of doing what Monroe did almost 40 years ago?
The answer might determine whether Lin is the point guard and D'Antoni returns as coach next season.
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