By Brian Norris
The New York Knicks tipped-off the season on Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they lost to the Cavs 117 - 88 to open the season 0 - 1. Losing to the defending champions is likely the closest that the Knicks will get to the NBA title while Carmelo Anthony is on the team. While Melo is a nice player who has put up decent stats since he has joined the Knicks, it is unlikely that the Knicks will ever be serious contenders for the NBA crown with Melo in town.
Since joining the Knicks, Melo's average scoring numbers have fluctuated between 28 points per game and 22 points per game. While these averages are in line with what the small forward has averaged throughout his career, his defense has not aged well with time. He is a defensive liability for the Knicks, and he is not able to offset the difference with his offensive game any more. For the Knicks to be successful, they need a player who can mask Melo's weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball. While the emergence of Kristaps Porzingis helped in this regard last season, the Knicks are still a long way from challenging the top contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Even Melo's college coach does not think that the Knicks will win a title while Melo is on the team. Jim Boeheim, one of the most respected coaches in all of college basketball and a beneficiary of Melo's talent, thinks the chances are remote that the Knicks win a title anytime soon due to the lack of talent that surrounds Melo. Signing Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah during the off-season does little to help the Knicks get better. While Rose may think that this "Big Three" will challenge Lebron James and D-Wade for the Eastern Conference crown, most pundits agree with the Syracuse Orange's head coach.
Part of the reason why the Knicks are not able to surround Melo with talent is the huge salary that he commends. This year, Melo will make upwards of $26 million on his deal. Instead of taking less money when he resigned a few years back, Carmelo Anthony decided to take the max option for a player with his time in service in the NBA. This has put the Knicks in a difficult salary cap situation, and even Zen Master Phil Jackson has not been able to find a way to work around this problem. The lack of draft picks for the Knicks over the past few seasons has not helped either. If the Knicks cannot draft their own talent, they are going to have a hard time attracting top talent to New York.
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