Tuesday, February 22, 2011
My Man My Melo
Listen, this is classic NY to ask for something then front like you don't want it when you actually get it. People are really too cool for Melo right now. If you told someone before the year, that we could have Billups, Landry Fields, Melo, Stoudemire, and Ronny Turiaf, that person would have bugged out and then they'd say, "Who the fuck is Landry Fields?" Half-way through the season, Landry Fields is Spike's new favorite and people are upset we gave up Mozgov!
Mozgov is a project who's at least 1.5 to 2 years away from being a legit starter if he ever is. People constantly over project the talent of young centers: Samuel Dalembert, Nenad Kristic, Spencer Hawes, Chris Kaman. These guys all had good individual years, but never sustained that level. I have two words for you: Darko Milicic. I'm not saying Mozgov is Milicic because Mozgov seems like he can actually tie his own shoes, but it's a crapshoot. With the NBA rules, it's a perimeter game and moreover a scorer's game. No one can project Mozgov accurately right now, but I'll say he never makes an all-star game. He doesn't have that back to the basket game or a consistent enough jumper to be a force offensively and he's too timid on the glass.
Raymond Felton was MADE by D'Antoni this year. He has career highs in minutes, shot attempts, points, assists, and steals at the age of 26. This is a product of D'Antoni's system and lately, people have learned how to defend the Knicks. Stay with Stoudemire on the pick-n-roll and make Felton shoot his wack ass 42% jumper. Felton had a great year so far, was great on the break, but he's replaceable. Coming into the season, the book on Felton was slightly above average speed, decent assist to turnover ratio, and above average defense. He is a lot like what Orlando had in Jameer Nelson his one all-star year that Nelson over performed. They both got opportunities to hit big shots created through pick-n-roll with howard/stoudemire, but when forced to win their individual match-up against the top tier teams, they can't. Plus, we're getting BILLUPS. This dude is proven in the playoffs and even though he's lost a step, he gets it done. Billups is a much better shooter and smarter in the half-court than Raymond Felton. He's a leader who in D'Antoni's system is going to approach the 9 assists a game that Felton had.
Gallinari has the most upside of all the pieces we gave up. He's a pure shooter who actively tries to go to the basket. I think high-end he's a slightly more aggressive Rashard Lewis, but more realistically, he has a career like Mike Miller. He isn't a legit #2 scorer but he is a #3 on half the teams in the NBA. Defensively, he just doesn't have the foot speed and you'll always suffer with him defending the 3. His shot has also gone AWOL for parts of this season going a career low 41.5%. Gallo is a good piece, but he is limited. He's not going to be Dirk.
Chandler had a breakout year. In December, his best month, he put up big numbers against the Magic, Heat, Celtics, and Nuggets. He scores in the post, face-up, and beyond 3. I really think he was a poor man's Danny Granger but his shot is also really streaky. Chandler doesn't have the pure jumper or athleticism to be a legit #2 scorer on a playoff team and is a career #3. Also, Gallo, Chanlder, Melo all play the same position. With Melo on board, Gallo/Chandler wouldn't have even gotten the minutes they needed. Plus, Chandler's a restricted free agent after the season and we probably wouldn't have resigned him. I like Chandler's upside, but he's not a superstar and we upgraded the position.
We took on a lot of trash like Anthony Carter and Ronaldo Balkman, but Carter is off the books after the season and we all loved Balkman as an energy guy when he was here a few years ago. Cory Brewer is overpaid, but he is a great perimeter defender and if we go with a small unit at times with Stoudemire at center and Melo at PF, he can play 2 or 3 with Fields and lock people down. Shelden Williams was a bust because he got drafted too high, but he's a serviceable big man that already has a better rebound rate than anyone on our roster. He's going to be valuable for our squad. I like that we got some pieces who are not offensive minded guys and will just do the dirty work. We still have some firepower off the bench with Shawne Williams, Bill Walker, and Azubuike is coming back.
In football, this would be a bad trade, but in basketball you win with stars and very rarely do you have a shot at one. Unless you have one of the top 3 picks in the draft or cash in free agency, you don't get one. And only once ever 10 years or so does a legit superstar become available for trade in their prime. Let's look back, Barkley to Phoenix, Shaq to LA, Webber to Sacramento, T-Mac/Grant Hill to Orlando, T-Mac to Houston, and KG to Boston. Did I miss anyone? When you trade for a top-5 talent, which Melo is, you can't go wrong. We upgraded the PG and SF positions and basically swapped Mozgov for Shelden Williams while giving up a potential sixth man in either Chandler/Gallo. We have 2 superstars and a top notch veteran at the point. This is what you wanted NY, stop frontin.
p.s. I understand some wanted to just wait till free agency and sign melo but you never know what could happen. If we missed out, do you really want to be sitting there knowing we didn't get him cause Timofey Mozgov was just too much to give up? Have you ever seen anyone who spelled Timothy with an "f" do anything? No. This is the cost of doing business. People don't just give away superstars. Those trade rumors 2 weeks ago saying that we would get Melo for Chandler, Eddy Curry, and a pick were ludicrous. You couldn't get High School Cam'ron and Mase for Chandler and Eddy Curry.