Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second round pick according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The trade is expected to be finalized with the league office on Monday, as Carmelo has already waived his no-trade clause and the eight million dollar trade kicker.
Originally, Melo only was willing to be traded to the Houston Rockets, but with training camp looming Anthony extended his list of teams. The Knicks were not going to get a superstar in return, but it would have been nice to at least get a first-round pick. The two players they got in return are role players in the NBA at best, Kanter being an offensive player and defensive liability. Doug McDermott is the perfect example of a NCAA phenom whose skills have yet to translate to the NBA a la Jimmer Fredette.
Carmelo Anthony joins the latest list of all-star players to move to the Western Conference, and he finally has superstar talent around him to compete in the playoffs. This trade wasn’t about receiving pieces to accelerate the rebuild in New York, but rather to officially begin the Kristaps Porzingis era.
Last season Kristaps Porzingis averaged just under 15 field goal attempts per game, but this season he will need to be between 20-25 shots per game every single night at a minimum. The franchise has put the team on KP’s shoulders, and now we will see if he has what it takes to blossom into a superstar in this league. His sophomore season was a step up, averaging 18 points per game, but this season he needs to average over 20 points a game because he is the best player on this roster. If Kristaps continues to take a passive role in the offense, this team has no chance being competitive for the 2017-2018 season.
Porzingis was prone to early foul trouble last season that forced him to the bench early in games. It was frustrating for the coaching staff, but manageable because Carmelo Anthony was still on the floor to handle the scoring load. Now, early foul woes from Kristaps can all but determine the outcome of a game in the first half. There is a lot of room for KP to improve this year, but he has shown an ability to do something unique each game. He has the skill set to one day join the ranks of the all-time greatest Knicks, but there is no guarantee that he will get there.
Steve Mills and Scott Perry have handed KP the keys to the Knicks, and now Kristaps must prove that he is capable of being the star player.
If Porzingis stays healthy he will be an all-star for the first time this year. That is not a sizzling take, due to the lack of all-star talent in the Eastern Conference, but it also calls for Porzingis to take his game to the next level.
The Knicks have an interesting roster this upcoming season without Carmelo Anthony. Tim Hardaway Jr. also needs to be looked at for career high numbers in scoring. 20 points per game in the form of Melo is a big void to fill, and it is now time for the “Unicorn” and his supporting cast to step up or step aside.
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