Knicks are back! (again)

24 02 2011

We heard the Knicks were back last summer when they signed Amar’e Stoudemire. After trading for Carmelo Anthony and inking him to a long-term deal, they’re now really back. The team that plays in the World’s Greatest Arena with two superstars in their prime playing for a coach who has an upbeat offensive system — the Knicks are one of the five most watchable teams in the NBA. (Just for fun, I’ll put them up there with the Heat, Clippers, Thunder and Lakers for watchability, whatever that word means.)

It means a lot for the Knicks off the court. Sponsors will be pleased to promote two stars to their audience; likewise, the team has capitalized on its season-long momentum by spiking fan interest to another level. Sure, Knicks fans had bonded with Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and, to a lesser degree, Timofey Mozgov and Ray Felton, because they helped bring back excitement. They represented a future. But Carmelo brings a potentially brighter future now that the Knicks have two legitimate stars.

He and Amar’e also represent the opportunity to maximize Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system. I’ve never considered D’Antoni a championship-level coach because he doesn’t bother with defense. Which is fine in this case. His hiring was as much an effort by the Knicks to play fan-friendly basketball as it was an opportunity to field a competitive team. Of course the Knicks aimed to win when they brought in D’Antoni, but their greater concern when he was hired in 2008 was to rid themselves of their destructive image from the 2000s.

To capitalize on D’Antoni’s coaching strength by bringing in two highly-regarded offensive players is a brilliant move. The argument that Anthony and Stoudemire, like most Knicks, don’t play defense is sort of flawed; how much defense did D’Antoni’s teams play in Denver or Phoenix? Slim to none. The Knicks are supposed to be an offensive juggernaut, and that’s exactly what they will be with Anthony and Stoudemire, even moreso than they were before the trade.

On that note, here’s my SLAMonline story about Carmelo’s financial impact on the Knicks and the NBA. I had it in mind to e-mail a few sports economists whom I talk with regularly, and they sent me their answers to my questions.

Click the link below to read the story:

Knicks $core Big With Carmelo

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