One thing about losing streaks. They tend to expose all the little cracks within a team.
The New York Knicks are finding that out right now. They're mired in a six-game losing streak, which has basically become a rerun of the first month of the season, otherwise known as the "Pre-Lin" era.
That era was marked by an offense in which Carmelo Anthony took lots of shots but didn't hit too many of them. It was marked by poor defense that could produce a flurry of turnovers and easy baskets, only to then disappear and allow open lanes, easy baskets and sloppy fundamentals.
Another thing that comes to the surface in losing streaks? Internal team strife. When teams are winning, no one wants to upset the apple cart. When teams are losing everyone is looking to shield themselves from blame. One way to make a bad situation worse is to start to play the "blame game."
Both scenarios are now playing out in the Big Apple. The New York Post ran a column yesterday which revealed that Carmelo Anthony, while publicly supportive of the Knicks' decision to sign J.R. Smith, had internally tried to discourage the team from bringing him on board.
Now that the Knicks are losing and Carmelo is taking heat for the team's performance, Anthony has decided to go public with his displeasure that Knicks' management didn't listen to him with regards to signing Smith.
Anthony was of course brought to New York to be the team's leading scorer as well as their general manager.
The signing of Smith may very well have been a bad move by the Knicks. Smith is a shoot-first shooting guard that joined a team that already had plenty of players whose focus is on offensive production. For a team that needs increased defensive consistency and a fluid offense, Smith represents a questionable acquisition.
Adding to the toxicity of Smith is that he has a tendency to not just take shots, but he takes shots that are not in the flow of the offense. Smith will hoist up a three-pointer with the shot clock at 18 seconds. He's undisciplined on, and at times, off the court as well.
Carmelo's judgment may very well have been 100 percent correct on this matter, but one has to question why this supposedly internal opinion was suddenly made public by an unnamed source in the midst of a Knicks' losing streak, in which Anthony has been handed a fair amount of the blame.
Did Anthony show leadership? Not really. Anthony showed an ability to make a decent assessment of the Knicks' needs and how Smith did or did not match up with those needs, but once Smith is on board, that ship has sailed.
Undercutting Smith now serves no purpose, and if Anthony is so concerned with players who take ill timed shots that are not within the flow of the offense, then there are far bigger culprits on his own team with the same problem.