Monday, February 21, 2011

Knicks Need Dwight Howard, Not Carmelo [Mondays with Gus]

The New York Knicks, if they go after Carmelo Anthony, will be essentially trying to out-Heat the Miami Heat. While this move would easily put the Knicks into the top three in the East, I doubt they will win any rings from the decision. Simply put, the Knicks would have no way to match up well against the future of the East, the Miami Heat.

Carmelo is a fantastic talent, and probably one of the best all-around players in the NBA. So, I understand how ridiculous this article may sound to some people. But, the playoffs in the NBA are all about match ups and coaching. Putting Carmelo and Amare against Bosh and LeBron just isn't going to cut it. Plus, by having Amare on the team, you can't have a good defensive front court unless you have a fantastic defensive center on the team. That's where Dwight Howard comes into play. He can change the future of the Knicks in the Eastern Conference.

As a Cavs fan, it's hard to admit that the Heat are the team to beat in the East, but it's true. The Celtics are aging quickly, the Bulls don't have anyone that can shoot the basketball (and not enough salary cap room to fix that properly), the Magic are pulling a Cleveland Cavalier and buying up old talent to surround their one great player, and Atlanta can't afford to improve because of their salary cap situation. Sure, one of the sub-par teams can score big on a draft pick and free agent, but the NBA wants a few great teams and a bunch of awful ones. Ratings baby.

Essentially, the Knicks have to turn into a better team than the Heat if they want to win a ring in the next three or four years. They can do that by creating match up problems that the Heat will be unable to deal with as long as they have their big three. Miami's salary cap situation is so awful, that it is possible (though very minutely so) that they will have to cut one of the big three to be under a potential hard cap. In short, they can't fix their problems. Specifically, Miami can't defend quick point guards or legitimate centers.

The reason that New York should attack the center position with the Heat is because LeBron and Wade rely on getting to basket. When LeBron and D Wade have to shoot the ball, the Heat will lose. Putting a defensive MVP in Dwight Howard in the middle will give Miami fits on the offensive end, and completely devastate any potential defensive strategies the Heat might have.

While the Knicks are likely thinking only about money (what teams aren't these days?), it's in the best interest of New York basketball to go after Dwight Howard. Perhaps signing Carmelo to a long term deal than immediately trading him to Orlando? Orlando sees the writing on the wall left by LeBron in Cleveland, so I say there's a chance that could happen. Getting Howard won't be easy, but if the Knicks want to be serious contenders over the next few years, they're going to need to find a way to get it done.

-Gus Rafeedie

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