By Jeffrey Pillow
Whereas LeBron James’ ESPN televised decision was one of the most pompous displays of egomaniacal self-importance in the history of sports, the viewer could still walk away with at least an alternate conclusion as to why James did what he did: the man wants to win an NBA title.
Carmelo Anthony, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about.
In “Carmelo Anthony: Why He’ll Never Win a Title No Matter Where He Goes,” Elliott Pohnl of Bleacher Report delves out 10 reasons why the 14-karat ring will always elude #15. What Pohnl fails to expand on, however, are Anthony’s two most likely destinations, New York or New Jersey, neither of which has the personnel to place Anthony and his respective team at the upper-echelon of the NBA’s elite come playoff time.
Although Amar’e Stoudemire is an offensive juggernaut, he has never lived up to his athletic ability on the defensive end, particularly on the glass, averaging just 8.6 rpg for his career, and never once reaching the 10 rpg threshold in a single season for a player his size.
But it isn’t so much Stoudemire as it is the coach in place for New York. Mike D’Antoni has forever been lambasted for his lack of strategy on the defensive end. The comparisons between Denver and New York offensively and defensively are eerily similar with Denver averaging 107.58 HME per game and their opponents 105.16, while New York puts up 106.24 points per contest and their opponents 105.80. Not even the dismal Cleveland Cavaliers allow their opponents to drop as many points on them as New York. Topping out the list are the Minnesota Timberwolves at 107.95 — not exactly great company to be sitting beside if you’re wearing the Knickerbocker orange and blue.
While the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets aren’t lying on the bottom rung of the NBA’s gutter this year, a record of 17-40 (already five games better than all of 2009-10), isn’t exactly giving their fans playoff fever. About the only thing worth watching at the Prudential Center in Newark is the dance squad.
Let me repeat: about the only thing worth watching at the Prudential Center in Newark is the dance squad. Seriously, have you seen these girls scantily wrapped in what appears to be black electric tape? At least there is a logical reason some fans do still buy tickets and attend games.
Other than Brook Lopez and Devon Harris, (most likely the trade will send Derrick Favors packing), how is a move to the Nets any upgrade over where Carmelo stands right now; or, any closer to where he would hope to be in the next three years? Damion Jones, Stephen Graham, Johan Petro, and Ben Uzoh probably won’t be delivering Mikhail Prokhorov a title as a supporting cast, no matter how many yachts he could ever promise them. These four are more likely to be delivering pizzas for Grimaldi’s of Hoboken in the coming years than New Jersey/Brooklyn a Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Just saying.
Yet these are the two most likely destinations for the former Syracuse star. At least LeBron had the courage to inflame an entire city and declare that he wanted to put himself in position to win and for multiple years. “The major decision,” James said during his conversation with Jim Gray on July 8, 2010, “was the ability to win now and win in the future.”
While I don’t blame Denver for trying to get their money’s worth in a trade, it appears Carmelo is simply content in going to a mediocre or average team at best. If it all pans out like the reports say, he’ll get just that.