I make no excuses for anyone.
I certainly never made excuses to my former employer if I ignored an assignment for a few moments while doing something TKB related. Admittedly, there are times over the past 4 years where my full-time job took a back seat to this platform meaning I wasn’t giving my full attention or 100% effort to my bosses.
People may think that I blindly supported Mike D’Antoni since his hiring when in actuality I was defending fairness. I wanted to see him have the best chance to succeed and all things being equal he didn’t. But the man went out his way and in my book he has his dignity. I spent plenty of time with him over his time here and he was the same person every day in the face of great challenge and despair.
Here’s what I know and here’s what I’ve told you happened during last year’s trade deadline. Mike D’Antoni wanted Deron Williams. Information I gathered on countless meetings and phone calls that took me out of the office by the way. The front office wanted Carmelo Anthony because Melo’s people were forcing him to MSG at all costs. Mark Warkentien was hired. CAA was pulling strings.
So here comes Melo to NY with a coach who he knew didn’t want him and whose style and structure had to be tweaked to make sure Chauncey Billups fed him touches in the post. Melo played hard and carried the team on his shoulders in Game 2 of the playoffs.
Fast forward to an off season of desperation for D’Antoni who wanted a PG in the worst way after the team amnestied Melo’s main man for Tyson Chandler. A shrewd move that has paid off in bunches. D’Antoni urged the Knicks to draft Iman Shumpert an felt that either he or Toney Douglas could run things. They signed Mike Bibby. They signed Baron Davis, who sat back and watched the season unfold in front of him while he got healthy and while the locker room bended towards breaking points.
Enter Jeremy Lin during a time when both Melo and Amar’e were out. I like to call this the happiest time in the D’Antoni Era. The system was flourishing and the Garden was rocking.
Melo admittedly mentioned that his energy was down. That is unacceptable at any level but at the NBA level players know it’s a star’s league. Too many players throw it on cruise control on a nightly basis. Fans aren’t supposed to like it and it should anger them, but as the old saying goes it is what it is. Guys check out and it’s easy to check out on a guy who never begged you to defend. It’s easy to check out on a guy who was put in a lame duck situation this season.
And let’s not act like this hasn’t happened before. People know Ewing checked out on Don Nelson. Do you remember the Nelson Era? Mark Messier completely checked out on Roger Neilson. That team, just a Mike Richter save away from competing for the Stanley Cup in 1992 MISSED THE PLAYOFFS in 1993. Oh, they hired Mike Keenan on Messier’s behalf and won the Cup in 94, which is what anyone will remember.
Does Messier get a pass for 1993 because he won cups in Edmonton? Is he a bad example because Melo hasn’t won anything but 50 games in the west a few times?
The bottom line is simple. You don’t have to like Melo now for admitting that he checked out mentally in a system he initially reshaped his game for. You can question why he would even mention it. There are no more excuses here for Melo now and ownership knows it. He is the complete focal point as it relates to getting this team to the top 4 in the East. Whether he knows this or not he’s positioned himself to put the team on his back and lead…and win.
That’s why he demanded and begged his team to force him here, right?