The New York Knicks have taken the “star approach” to winning an NBA title, building a team around Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. There are two problems with this philosophy.
First, Stoudemire is never going to play a healthy season again. He just doesn’t have the knees for it. I wish I could tell you that this was unforeseeable, but it was obvious.
Second, Anthony is not as good as LeBron James. He never has been and never will be. That means, in order for the Knicks to be a true contender, they’d have to have a better supporting cast around Anthony than James has around him in Miami.
The problem there is that James agreed to play for less money, and so did Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. So the Heat have more money for the rest of their roster.
Additionally, players are more likely to want to join with a player who has a reputation for being a passer, like James, than one who has a reputation for being a black hole, like Anthony.
Get angry if you want, but look at the last few years. Who has had better luck signing free agents?
The Knicks are trying to do what Miami did with lesser, more injury-prone and pricier talent. That’s not going to work.
They finished second in the Eastern Conference last year, but even that was fool’s gold for several reasons.
First, it was exposed during the postseason (and not for the first time) that, “live by the three, die by the three” means you end up dying by it when you face a serious defense.
Second, the Chicago Bulls were without Derrick Rose, and with him back, the Knicks wouldn’t have finished second anyway. The Pacers will probably finish with a better regular-season record than New York, as well, this year.
Third, other teams are getting better. The Brooklyn Nets have added Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Cleveland Cavaliers have added Andrew Bynum and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett. The Washington Wizards have been improving and could make a push into the sixth spot.
Yes, the Knicks added Andrea Bargnani, but that’s not a great selling point.
Even if the Knicks finish better than Cleveland and Washington this year, they are moving in a different direction than the younger teams are. In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs are all decidedly better than the Knicks.
The Knicks are not a top-10 team right now, and they aren’t going to get any better. They will stay committed to their philosophy, anyway, guaranteeing that they won’t win a title in the foreseeable future.