Originally posted on August 6th, 2017 at iSportsWeb
There are many questions facing the New York Knicks going into the upcoming season, and most of these questions circulate around the future of Carmelo Anthony.
Will he be traded? Will he be waived? Will he stay?
As of now, it seems like there’s a huge possibility that Anthony will still be a Knick by the time October rolls around. According to multiple reports, he’s hell bent on a move to the Houston Rockets to join his fellow banana boat buddy Chris Paul and MVP runner-up James Harden — who’s well known for making it rain buckets and other things that shall not be discussed in this article.
With Anthony, the Rockets would become a strong contender to knock the Golden State Warriors off their perch and challenge for the NBA title, so it’s no surprise he wants to be traded there, but if he’s serious about leaving New York, he has to be willing to waive his no-trade clause to be traded elsewhere. Currently, the Rockets have little to no assets to offer that would be of interest to the Knicks front office.
Also, who’s really trying to take Ryan Anderson’s bad $20 million per year contract? Not even the most incompetent front offices would be willing to bring in Anderson for that type of money. Therefore, more than likely, the Rockets will be stuck with Anderson, and the Knicks will be stuck with Anthony, unless the Rockets and Knicks could find a third team that would be willing to take on the abyss that is Anderson’s contract.
As the days go by, the probability of Anthony staying put in New York is growing, and the problem coach Jeff Hornacek will have to solve is how will he use Anthony in his high-tempo offense this upcoming season.
Typically, Hornacek likes to play with two guards, two versatile forwards, and a center, but in his first season as Knicks coach, he has experimented with lineups which included two bigs who are not that versatile. Also, with a surplus of bigs currently on the Knicks roster, it’s hard to believe that only one big will be in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season.
There are many possibilities to how the Knicks may lineup when the first game of the season arrives, but all of these possibilities are centered around whether Anthony will be playing power forward or small forward.
If Anthony is moved to power forward, it’ll be evident that coach Hornacek will be going with a small ball lineup that’ll be able to fill it up at will. This would be a smart move by Hornacek since Anthony had his best season as a Knick when he played power forward, under Mike Woodson, in the 2012-13 season.
Nowadays, Anthony doesn’t have the quickness to keep up with most small forwards on defense. By moving to power forward, he will most likely be guarding players who don’t have superior foot speed, which would help him to be more productive on defense. Plus, most opposing power forwards can’t guard Anthony because they lack the quickness to defend on the perimeter, and with the plethora of moves he has at his disposal, Anthony is a problem for any big to try to lock down defensively.
The void left by Anthony at the wing can be filled by Tim Hardaway Jr., which will create a three guard lineup capable of running the fast break and filling it up from deep. Essentially, the Knicks would have a lineup of all shooters who can stretch the floor and open up lanes for the guards to penetrate and break down the defense.
Possible Knicks starting lineup: PG – Ramon Sessions, SG – Tim Hardaway Jr., SF – Courtney Lee, PF –Carmelo Anthony, C – Kristaps Porzingis
If Anthony remains as the starting small forward, coach Hornacek will probably be going with a lineup that’ll provide more rebounding and more of a defensive presence at the rim.
This lineup makes more sense since the Knicks are loaded with bigs on their roster.
Porzingis can be paired with a defensive big, like Kyle O’Quinn or Joakim Noah, to help provide more of a defensive presence in the paint, or he can be paired with another offensive big, like Willy Hernangomez, who will be capable of punishing defenders in the post. Either way, Porzingis won’t have to lift the heavy load of defending the paint on his own and he’ll have more help rebounding the ball.
Anthony won’t benefit as much since he’ll have to face quicker players who will blow by him on defense and be able to keep up with him on offense, but being the elite scorer that he is, he’ll still find ways to score and be a very productive player on offense for the Knicks.
Possible Knicks starting lineup: PG – Ramon Sessions, SG – Tim Hardaway Jr., SF – Carmelo Anthony, PF – Kyle O’Quinn/Joakim Noah/Willy Hernangomez, C – Kristaps Porzingis
Coach Hornacek will have a lot to figure out if Anthony remains a Knick when the season starts, but ultimately, what matters most is creating a starting lineup which will make the Knicks competitive, and fun to watch, every game.