Monday, May 12, 2008

Great Expectations in the NBA

On Mother's Day, John Hollinger published an inspiring article in his blog. In hit he detailed some of the criticism that has been given to soon to be New York Knick coach Mike D'Antoni's system. Like me, Hollinger is perplexed by the criticism that states D'Antoni's system can not win in the NBA. I think this is significant since the Memphis Grizzlies did hire his former lead assistant to take us into the future. As someone who spends a lot of time reading different blogs and message boards on the NBA, it just gave me chuckles to read fans parroting the fact that the Sun's system failed like it was fact. Are they really trying to build a case that a system can only be a success if you win a championship?

Yes, winning a championship is the pinnacle of competition but if that is your sole definition of success then you are likely to be disappointed...a lot.

Anyone who has hit a trade thread or post has seen it. "He might be good but he won't lead you to a championship," or "He is not a winner" label placed upon certain players. Case in point...Carmelo Anthony. On April 25th ESPN's cowardly Bill Simmons suggested the Grizzlies trade for Carmelo Anthony. Shortly there after the Grizzlies message board along with two of my favorite Grizz writers, Joshua Coleman and Chris Herrington , were dead set against it thinking that Carmelo was a bad fit. I was flabbergasted. Herrington tried to construct an argument that ended up with him saying he would rather start a team from scratch with Rudy Gay. If that is not a big WTF then I don't know what qualifies. For this to even pass by as some kind of inspired logical thought that was agreed upon by others bears examination.

Carmelo's crime is not getting his team out of the 1st round of the playoffs by the tender age of 23. Even Josh called this a"pattern". What about the pattern of his team never having a losing record after coming to a team that won 17 games the year before he arrived. The same team he led to more wins in the tough Western Conference than LeBron could muster in the East. Ask Kobe how hard getting out of the first round of the West can be win you only have two legit offensive threats on your team.

Comparing Melo to Gay as franchise players is just laughable. Rudy has won 44 games in two years, Melo does that almost every year. Until Iverson came to Denver, Carmelo had never had a teammate as good as Pau Gasol but he was leading his team to the playoffs. Unfortunately for him, the West is loaded. Before Iverson arrived, Anthony was leading the league in scoring at 31.6 points per game.

If you won't trade Mike Miller and Mike Conley for Carmelo Anthony, what is the point. If your only measure for success is a championship, very few will make you happy. Guess what John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller and Micheal Jordan all have in common? None of them made it out of the first round of the playoffs by the age of 23.

Some times in this age of immediate information and all access, our expectations as fans has gotten extremely out of whack. We have fans of teams like the Knicks saying that a coach that averaged 55+ wins over the last few does not win enough to coach their team. We have fans of a team that has never had an All NBA performer and has averaged 22 wins the last two seasons, thumbing their nose at a 23 year old two time All NBA player is insufficient for their needs. Somehow, things have gotten off track.


August West said...

Carmelo is one of probably 8 guys I'd trade for Rudy in a heartbeat: no matter who else we threw-in off of the roster we'd win the 'talent gained' side of the trade for once!

I'd be nice to be the team that gets a superstar dumped on them instead of the other way around.

Anonymous said...

I would trade for him but I would rather Keep Rudy and send them Mike & Mike.

David Jones said...


I don't think anyone is proposing a trade of Gay for Anthony.

The proposed trade was Miller, Conley, and Warrick for Anthony.

I would definitely do this trade. I agree with MemphisX. You have to be crazy not to pull the trigger.

To those that say Anthony doesn't fit Memphis' style: What exactly is Memphis' style? Getting humiliated on Offense and Defense?