Chris Mullin, member of the 1992 Dream Team and a St. John's University superstar, needs to look twice at the New York Knicks. He's overvaluing the importance of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire playing well together.
If the Knicks are going to be a title contender this year, then of course the duo will have to work well with one another.
But it's really not at the top of their "most important" list.
Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote about Mullin's feelings on the two players. Mullin understands how the Knicks' offseason additions will help, but feels that it'll all come down to Anthony and Stoudemire:
I think that Rasheed (Wallace), Kurt (Thomas), Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, they’re pieces on the outside—support. It’s going to get back to Carmelo and Amar’e and how well they play together. How well they incorporate the other players with them. That’s what it’s going to come down to. I don’t think it’s a secret.
Mullin's focus is on the wrong area of the game. He shouldn't be worried about age, or New York's two stars playing well together.
The most important part of New York's season has to do with the point guard position.
Last Year's Team
The 2011-12 Knicks were 8-15 through their first 23 games.
It seemed as though the team wasn't going to live up to their skill level, but then...
Jeremy Lin showed up!
Okay, that was a complete exaggeration, but his arrival was the "turning point" in their season.
Lin had played in a couple games for the Knicks, but New York didn't benefit much from his presence until he saw some consistent playing time.
He then played more than 30 minutes in a game, and all of a sudden, the league was hit with it's newest sensation. The Knicks also benefited from his play.
That game began a 13-3 run over the next 16 games.
Now, let's be honest. Lin is talented and all, but the change in play didn't only take place because of his skill at point guard. New York finally felt like New York again and the team rode a huge wave of momentum for all of those games.Other teams also didn't know how to defend Lin, so there was going to be a learning period for opponents as well.
Still though, it's important to note how the Knicks had their best stretch of the season in games where Anthony and Stoudemire weren't featured.
Whether you like the man or not, Lin was the turning point of last year's team. His play at point guard changed New York's whole dynamic and it won the Knicks a lot of games in the process.
If It's Not Anthony and Stoudemire, Then Who Is It?
Jason Kidd would have been a great addition six years ago, but now he's practically a dinosaur on the court. Don't know if people have heard or not, but dinosaurs have been extinct for about 65 million years (Fun fact for the day).
His veteran leadership and ability to sometimes knock down an open three-pointer will certainly come in handy, but he won't fill the void at point guard.
Raymond Felton's addition will probably end up helping the team the most because he is a skilled basketball player.
His career averages of 13.4 points per game and 6.7 assists per game are respectable numbers, but not those of an elite point guard.
Felton will get the opportunity to play with two superstars. He'll also have a center in Tyson Chandler that will dunk anything within four feet of the rim. He averaged nine assists a game when he played for the Knicks two years ago so it makes sense to think that he'll have similar numbers this year.
Managing the game and being able to spread the ball out to both Anthony and Stoudemire will be crucial for him and the Knicks' success.
More crucial than the superstar duo playing well together.
Will Carmelo and Amar'e be responsible for the majority of New York's points? Absolutely they will. Unfortunately, they've also proven that scoring hasn't won them games in the past.
Mullin was close, but solid point guard play is the answer to a successful season.