For all of the grief that the Knicks get about trading draft picks, there’s seems to be an awful lot of support about giving away some of the young guns to acquire Kevin Love. While the thought of having another All-Star to keep Carmelo Anthony happy seems nice on the surface, I’m not sure if Love is the right guy.
New York’s ugly history of giving away picks started in the early 2000′s. Guys like Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry, and more recently, Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani, have all been deemed worthy of losing a first round pick for in the past decade, and given the uncertainty of Melo’s long-term tenure with the Knicks, it has yet to work.
But that’s not to say that the Knicks are totally incapable of building through the draft. In the past four years, the team has plucked out three members of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and have done it without a single lottery pick to boot. The future of their current roster consists of two of these players – Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. – but things haven’t been as hunk dory as they should have been since Kevin Love’s name hit the trading block.
Things were supposed to be different with Phil Jackson at the helm. Since his arrival, we’ve heard all about his affinity for Shumpert’s game, and THJ’s shooting ability should make him a perfect fit in the triangle scheme. Yet when the first major name became available, all sight for the future was tossed aside. Heck, fans were even willing to include a first rounder along with the Knicks’ only two building blocks. Shouldn’t the Knicks have their minds on growing something more permanent? Eventually they need to stop giving away their assets, whether the player is deemed worth it by the general public or not.
Youth movement aside, I’m not sure if Melo and Love can win a championship together anyways. No matter who he’s surrounded by, the Eastern Conference will run through LeBron James for the next five years or so, and while the thought of Love cleaning up all of Anthony’s bricks brings me joy, who’s going to be playing defense for them? Anthony and Love would need to be surrounded with gritty, hard-nosed defenders, and to acquire Love, the Knicks would need to give up their best perimeter defender and a future first rounder, which could be used to do the same. Say Love and Melo both sign five-year extensions. That means in 2019, wen their contracts are set to expire, Love will be 31 years old and Anthony will be 35. Without draft picks, New York will continue to dump mid-level exceptions and inflated prices for veterans on top of their already enormous salary cap and we’ll be right at square one, once again.
Last season, the Knicks gave up 99.4 points per game, while scoring 98.6 despite playing at a much slower pace than most of the league. Putting the ball in the hoop will never be the issue as long as Anthony is on the roster. Sure, Love would undoubtedly help out on the glass, but it’s defense that wins championships, and without guys like Shumpert and bereft of draft picks to add those complimentary players, getting the defensive help they need would be a daunting task. However, the Melo-Love combination would be a defensive upgrade over Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire, so I’ll give them that one.
Don’t get me wrong, trading for Love would immediately make the Knicks a better team next season, but things aren’t always about 2014-15. Phil came here to build something everlasting in New York, and by giving away more young players and picks, he would just be falling into the same trap as prior failures in the organization. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Let’s see if Phil reverts back to the same old insanity that Knicks fans are used to.
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