Keidel: Carmelo Cures Knicks’ Linsanity

By Jason Keidel
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We all have mindless pleasures. One of mine is watching “The Walking Dead” on Sunday nights. Little did I know that if you look closely enough you’ll find the undead ghouls limping down the road are really wearing Knicks jerseys.

The New York Knickerbockers have lost five straight, wandering like zombies on their rancid road trip. Owners of the longest current losing streak in the NBA, the Knicks are 18-23 and you’ll find the masses are muted over any world title talk. Now they play the Chicago Bulls, the team with the best record in the league.

And somewhere along the swarm of maladies, Linsanity died. And that’s the problem with drugs – physical or metaphysical – the higher you get the harder you crash.

Consecutive covers of Sports Illustrated? Popping from every New York newspaper? We at WFAN were guilty, too. Practically every other article on this site was dedicated to Linsanity. There even were reports that Lin changed commerce in far corners of the globe. The rampant projection of superhero qualities was so delusional that there was no way Lin could keep his high orbit with such weight on his newly broadened shoulders.

Yes, Lin was the beneficiary of the perfect, social media storm. The faerie dust around the Giants was swept up with the confetti along Canyon of Heroes. There was no baseball. We were bored, the Knicks were twirling down the drain, and Lin stepped in. Then Dwyane Wade, among many NBA stars, grew sick of the adoration, and thus teams swarmed the Harvard man until he suffocated.

Sure, part of Lin’s fading stardom is natural. He wasn’t as great as his run indicated, but he’s not as bad as he looks now – a turnover machine who can’t keep the ball long enough to pass it.

But perhaps Lin’s fade from the limelight is slightly unnatural. That’s why I held back before dissecting the Lin phenomenon. No doubt Lin is more Roy Hobbs than Shane Spencer, but you’re quite welcome to thumb through my columns to find that I worried that Carmelo was the cure for Linsanity.

The thread running through the winning streak, the peak of Lin’s powers, was the sense that everyone was involved. Yet when Carmelo came back, you sensed that the ball was dumped into a vacuum. When Carmelo has the rock on the block, his long arms coated with sleeves, you know it’s not coming back out, which means everyone just watches him shoot.

I was fairly certain that the Knicks would win enough to land in the playoffs, but now they’re one game ahead of Milwaukee and Cleveland.


You wouldn’t believe the grief I get whenever I speak poorly of Carmelo Anthony. My inbox boils with hostility, from “Have you ever watched basketball?” to “Do you just say things to get attention?” to things unsuitable for family programming.

We have an impulse to protect our blessed figures, and Carmelo is no different. Like someone with a gambling habit, instead of leaving the table you double down on Anthony, convinced that if you chant his name enough times he’ll remold the Knicks into a champion.

I’m sure to get more missives about the chasmal gaps in Lin’s game, about how he failed to adjust to Carmelo’s game, not the reverse. Then I’ll get a few on Mike D’Antoni, asserting that he’s not an NBA coach, despite winning about 60 games a year in Phoenix.

Amazing how the NBA is a player’s league until the your cherished player bombs. Then it falls on the team, the time, the town, the coach, and those of us who saw this coming. I denounced the Carmelo Anthony trade when it happened a year ago. This is Anthony’s ninth season in the NBA, and soon his ninth without a ring.

The only man who looks longingly at Carmelo Anthony is Joe Dumars – because he drafted Darko Milicic instead of Anthony (and Dwayne Wade). The rest of you should look the other way.

Carmelo Anthony is a very good player; he’s not great because he doesn’t make his teammates better. He can help a team win a title, but he can’t lead them there, which is what legends do. Just look it up. If facts interfere with your theories, don’t blame those of us who point it out.

Feel free to email me:

Is Keidel too tough on Melo? Join the debate in the comments below…

  • DomeDave

    Carmelo DID lead a team to a championship, Syracuse. And he was NOT a selfish player. I remember being surprised at his passing ability, and his above average defense.

    I realize that has been some time ago, but it can happen again. He is that gifted. I don’t think he’s selfish, I think he is playing the role he has been asked to play since he entered the league.

    If you want to rail on him for falling badly out of shape during the lockout, I won’t argue that point. He looks heavy and unathletic.

  • Mike

    Yes I can. The stars aren’t stepping up when they’ve attacked lyn. It’s thereplace to step p and they haven’t.

    • Mike

      Lin*. Up*

  • chris

    Even Herb Williams would do a better job!!!

  • chris

    The record since melo got here argument is an ignorant one and those who make it obviosly know nothing about ball!! In that case why when melo was with denver did denver have not only a winning record but were a perenial playoff team? Why? They have a good coach thats why!! Do you people know that dantoni dont even call plays and he has his players just chuck up shots… I mean thats just stupid… All good teamd with a star player have the ball go through their star why would it be different with the knicks and melo??? You people are ignorant. Get a good coach in here and melo goes back to who he is a winner and a great player!

  • JK

    To people who say we’re way off on Carmelo, let’s look at facts…

    Before the trade the Knicks were 28-26. Denver was 32-25.

    Since the trade the Knicks are 32-37. Denver is 41-26.

    The Knicks are 18-23 this year. Denver is 23-19. Couldn’t the Knicks have saved $100 million to remain mediocre?

    Winning is the watermark. Is there anything else to say?

    • JimmyBX

      Another IGNORANT stathead. The Nuggets are going NOWHERE with that BS team they have…STFU already

      • Michael

        Carmelo is really good, but I just don’t understand vs 76ers he was free to roam around with the ball after halftime and they got WORSE after the third quarter. And that Asian dude wasn’t even on the court Come on man, when MJ used to apologies to Phil “sorry about the triangle, but I just have to take over” they still win games. But Melo!?

        If you can’t take over then don’t hog the ball moron.

  • Ron

    Lin wasnt on the radar until after the Miami game. The moment Lin’s weaknessess were discovered, they choked him till he lost his confidence and became a turnover machine. Cant blame Melo for that.

  • telecaster236

    The Competition? Did they beat the Bucks with Melo? A 76er team that lost a bunch of games over the last month? please look at the overall record since Melo came here…And The record of Denver since he left..

  • Brooklyn Bobby

    People keep saying “look at the competition” when they were on the winning streak. My answer to that is well, they aren’t even beating the milwaukee’s of the world now?? So that notion of “look at the competition is dead wrong since they can’t even beat milwaukee. The fact of the matter is, the chemistry was better on that winning streak. We have proven that we can win with STAT. He was part of the winning streak (toronto, sac, Dallas). I think we CAN win with melo, but the problem is for whatever reason, we play with no heart and intensity with him back. I think he needs to get rid of the cool calm attitude, get rid of that smile and get down in the trenches attitude aka kobe, lebron. That is when the attitudes of the team will change, when he changes.

  • john

    Look how Denver was when melo left

  • Demetri

    D’Antoni has already mailed it in and is already thinking about coaching another NBA team for next year. If I am Dolan I am on the phone with Phil Jackson and asking him what players he would like us to keep and who we should trade before the NBA trade deadline. Phil is the one coach who has the ability to have players check their egos for the better of the team. He coached MJ, SHAQ and KOBE to rings so I am pretty sure that he can do the same for Amar’e and Melo if he still wants those two on the same team. There are teams that would take either player in a heartbeat, but if anyone can make it work it would be Phil. Let’s not forget the man did learn from Red Holzman the only coach in Knicks history to win championships for our Knicks. That team had a plethora of Hall of Famers on the roster and the coach was able to make it work, especially when Earl the Pearl was traded to NYC and had to change his game to work with the team. I just hope we can at least make the playoffs this year despite our current coach.

  • Chuck

    How about the knicks stop giving up 118 points per game??? If they played any shred of defense they could have a few more wins… You cant win games giving up 100ppg..Last 5 games 115 to boston , 95 to Dallas, 118 SAS, 119 Bucks, 106 Philly….you cant win games like that…

  • JimmyBX

    Stupid media members DESPERATE to prove they know something about basketball. Carmelo Anthony has never had a losing season until he lands on a Mike D’AnPhoni lead team. Then to top it off, we are forced to read CRAP by media MORONS who believe it’s acceptable for a guy like Jeremy Lin to shoot more than anyone else on the team. As if Jeremy Lin is a player who can carry a team. When Lin leads a team to the playoffs, perhaps media members can talk. The guy can’t even keep a starting job, but the writer of this article believes Melo is the problem..LMAO. AND EQUALLY STUPID FANS WILL BELIEVE HIM. #COMICAL!

    • brooklyn1983

      Melo had 6 pts vs Dollas. He shot 7-17 vs BUCKS while Lin had 8-14. Last night in 3rd qter, with Melo on court and Lin on bench, knicks was outscored by 14 pts. Lin had a bad game yesterday, but did Melo had a good one, no. Lin made Novak , Fields and others better and Melo made other worse. But by himself alone, he can win. In many games since he came back, he shooting was not much better than Lin and he did not do any defense, at least Lin did some. In Bucks game, down to last 30 sec. Lin defended Jennings hard and forced him to throw an air ball. Amare and Melo both stood under the basket, waiting for the ball and did not box out, that led to BUCKs tipped the rebound to 3 pts lead. Later, both Amare and Melo screwed another chance to tie the 3 pts game. The 2 stars lost the BUCK game. They couldn’t complain of getting no ball from Lin, he shot 7-17 with no defense.

  • sp snyder

    Before memo came back there was constant movement on offends and now it’s streetyard clear out and watch. Makes me sick.

  • Omar

    We don’t need to see Lin with the starting 5 before Melo came back because the records speak for themselves. Without Melo 8-2. With Melo 2-7. What else needs to be said?

    • JimmyBX

      Look @ the competition, clown. LMFAO @ anyone who believes the hype. Yeah, 9 games of Jeremy Lin is a ticket to the Hall of Fame… #dumbassfans

      • msome

        lol your dumb for not seeing how obviously talented he is, he was the only reason this team got ANYWHERE this season you damn fool, Carmelo let us down months ago and your still riding him like your prized stallion when he’s just a jackass. The stats that were presented to you should be enough but just in case you don’t get how worthless Anthony is on the Knicks

        • chris

          Yo dudeb you are really an ignorant guy… Lin is a nice player average though at his position. I cant believe you would try to compare melo to this 15 game player lol your a joke

        • JimmyBX

          LMAO @ this IDIOT in a nerdy voice “The stats that were presented to you…”..STFU, please. The reason the Knicks are struggling is because the head coach wants this offense run thru a POINT GUARD. He wants a spread offense and Melo standing around the 3 pt arc as if he were Allan Houston. Lin is ‘talented’ but that’ doesn’t mean he will ever carry a team to the playoffs by himself. You’re on DRUGS if you believe so. He’s closer to winding up in the NBDL than he is making the playoffs if he continues to STINK UP the place with his inept play.

  • Julian

    Somebody had to say it

  • W. Greene

    I concur, but maybe the Knicks should try starting the starting five (5) that made Lin an overnight sensation. . .then we can see if Carmellio is the cancer

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