Knicks need 'Melo, not 'Melo light.
The New York media in all of its myriad forms is collectively capable of convincing their readers or viewers of just about anything.
How to vote, what to eat, who to admire, where to go generally speaking.
They like to cajole, implore, demand that breaking news takes place, so, well breaking news can take place. Headlines can blare. The cash register goes Ka-Ching.
And then the process starts once more.
Except this time around Alex Rodriguez will have to go.
Derek Jeter won't be worth the money.
Eli Manning and his brother won't be mentioned in the same breath.
Michael Vick will be an inspirational story.
The New York media reserves the right to walk tall and change their mind, in a year, in a month, in a week, in a day.
We're just wondering how long it might be before they do an about face—at least a partial—on the Knicks' recent blockbuster deal for Carmelo Anthony.
It doesn't seem right, but the nice win in Miami Sunday night doesn't count for anything more than the loss the Friday before against the putrid, LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers.
That makes the Knicks 2-2 in the action packed week or so since 'Melo & veteran PG Chauncey Billups arrived.
Now comes a make-or-break stretch that includes 17 games in the month of March—the majority against teams competing for a playoff spot—and these new-fangled Knicks find themselves in need of breaking one very large habit that has seemingly plagued them from the season's opening tip.
Well, make that two habits.
One, the glaring absence of a true defensive front or mindset. The other, the ultra annoying tendency of finding a way to lose.
Yes, the team's got plenty of talent. They had plenty when Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton were on the squad, and they look to have even more now, at least in the short term, with Anthony and Billups joining Amar'e Stoudemire, Landry Fields and Rony Turiaf in the starting lineup.
But their record, 30-28, reeks of mediocrity.
Better than the last five or six years? No doubt.
But like NFL icon Bill Parcells likes to say, you are what your record says you are. The Knicks need to pick it up and start winning at a far more prodigious rate before this deal to bring 'Melo and Mr. Big Shot to Madison Square Garden can be heralded in Knicks lore the way the coming of Dave Debusschere for Walt Bellamy was as an almost immediate precursor to New York's championship march in '69-'70.
Of course, if the Knicks put back object of affection Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets tonight at the Garden that ultra exciting deal that just had to be made talk will be back in full force again.
We won't look beyond this six game run, and if the team wins four or five out of the half dozen there's little doubt the expansive media birds will be chirping.
Split the six and for all the positive spin you can put on it the Knicks are where they are right now, two games over .500 struggling to hold onto the sixth seed in the playoff race.
Lose four or five out of six and there will be whispers about chemistry, about D'Antoni's system, about this Carmelo Anthony alter ego—you know the one who can't throw the ball in the ocean for stretches at a time, we'll call him 'Melo Light—and the less of him New York sees the better because the same way the Heat can't win when Dwayne Wade gets shut down, the reconfigured Knickerbockers will struggle mightily when Anthony is putting up enough bricks to build a small pagoda.
Yes, as a whole there is reason for optimism, as much because Donnie Walsh is seemingly in charge and he has managed over the course of two years and change to completely turn over the suffering pig of a roster laid in his lap by the two stooges James 'I Play In A Blues Band' Dolan and his favorite son, brother, partner in crime, Isiah Thomas.
But as of now we don't for certain if Walsh will get the much hoped for invitation to stay on.
We don't know if a Mike D'Antoni team will ever be able to play the type of resolute defense over extended periods required to win not only big games, but big series.
And until a much larger sampling is in we really don't know if the combination of Anthony and Billups will contribute that much more to the teams well being than Gallinari, Chandler and Felton would have been able to, not just for the remainder of 2010/2011, but going forward, when Gallo at least figures to turn into a Dirk Nowitzki-like monster.
It may all turn out great. The Knicks can plausibly win a bunch of games and press deep enough into the post season to validate all the high hopes the New York media and a lot of the teams fan base has been excitedly piping about.
But you really never know about these things.
The self-same Knicks may just continue to bounce up and down amidst the balance of the regular season road. Turn out to be an easy first round playoff out and this big deal we've been hearing so much about may turn out to be no big deal after all.
Hopefully it'll be the former, but to find out the games do have to be played.
That's a fact of NBA life, and all the media hype in the world won't make that uphill climb any easier to endure.
That's it for now,