By Jared Max
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Question: Is Kristaps Porzingis a better basketball player than Iman Shumpert? How about J.R. Smith? What about Tyson Chandler or Amar’e Stoudemire? Steve Novak? Kenyon Martin? Pablo Prigioni? Jeremy Lin?
Answer: It does not matter.
This is like comparing inactive ingredients between name brands and generics. For my money, it is not worth paying for the name brand when the active ingredient remains Carmelo Anthony.
Question: After the Knicks drafted Porzingis Thursday, did the team’s most expensive asset convey a sense of leadership by welcoming a relatively unknown 19-year-old Latvian to the New York Dysfunction?
Melo voiced displeasure over how the Knicks used their highest draft position in three decades. According to published reports, Melo wasted no time making his feelings known. Within hours of the NBA draft, the New York Daily News reported that Anthony asked a friend, “Are we supposed to wait two or three years for this guy?”
The New York Post cited a radio report that sourced folks with close ties to Anthony, sharing, “He’s furious, he’s livid, he feels completely hoodwinked and betrayed by Phil Jackson — like he was lied to and sold a bill of goods. He’s willing to concede he wanted his money, but he didn’t know it would be like this and this bad. He can’t believe (in) the second season for Phil Jackson, he has to look forward to being worse than last season was.”
Do you get the impression that Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is not on Anthony’s summer reading list?
I have been beating this same horse for four-plus years. It is not a dead horse; the issue is very much alive.
Knicks fans continue to pay Manhattan prices in earnest to see a winning team, in vain.
I have compared Melo to the most expensive piece of furniture in a luxury home that matches nothing. I have likened Melo to a pricey automotive engine — incompatible with nearly every new part under the hood. While the metaphors change, the subject remains. The New York Knicks will never win a championship with Anthony as their centerpiece.
Knicks fans should be most encouraged by Jackson’s response to Anthony’s draft-night pout.
“Carmelo’s always on my mind. He’s our favorite son,” the Knicks’ president said. “But, the second most important thing is what we do for this franchise. That has to be a consideration.”
There was no need for Jackson to appease a player who the Knicks will give $22 million-plus to next season. Still, Jackson threw Melo a bone, calling him the Knicks’ favorite son.
Question: Does a favorite son need to be told by his parents that he is their favorite? No need to answer. We all know.
If you want to know why it does not matter if (for now) Porzingis is the second coming of Frederic Weis or the next Dirk Nowitzki, just look at the names in the opening paragraph. It is like mathematics. Regardless of which positive digit that gets added to a negative number, the answer is negative. If Chandler was unable to convert Melo’s Knicks into playing team-minded, defensive basketball, no rookie could do so.
The Knicks should be optimistic, though.
My interpretation of Jackson’s comments: He tried to placate his pricey player, then announced to the rest of the world that Melo is not the Knicks’ franchise. Is change coming? Time will tell.
Jared Max is a multi-award winning sportscaster. He hosted a No. 1 rated New York City sports talk show, “Maxed Out” — in addition to previously serving as longtime Sports Director at WCBS 880, where he currently anchors weekend sports. Follow and communicate with Jared on Twitter @jared_max.