|Carmelo Anthony gets his turn again as the one and only option for the Knicks. (Getty Images)|
With Jeremy Lin headed for surgery to repair a slight tear in the meniscus of his left knee, the Knicks face a daunting task the rest of the way. Despite having gone 8-2 in their last ten and knocking down the Kyrie-Irving-less Cavs Saturday night, the fact remains that the Knicks are down two starters, have little to no frontcourt depth to speak of, and now are running without the dynamic Lin at point guard.
For all his faults in terms of turnovers and a fallback in shooting percentage due to teams adjusting to, you know, knowing his name, Lin still made the offense the best it could be. It was his distribution and game management that helped the Knicks space the floor to get some motion into their ball movement, rather than having it stick with 18 seconds on the clock.
Without Lin, the only real option at point guard for the Knicks is Baron Davis, who can bring the ball up the floor and can drop about 5 dimes per game, but can't handle a beating getting to the rack or knock down perimeter shots the way Lin did. From there it's Toney Douglas again, and that's just not as situation you want to go into for extensive minutes.
But one thing this does affirm is that Carmelo Anthony gets to have things his way, just like he's been getting them for the past year. Wanted out of Denver, got his wish. Wanted into New York, got his wish. Wanted a change of coach, got his wish. Wanted the offense built more around him? The Knicks have no choice. It'll be back to the original formula to start the year from here on out, with Anthony making the first second and third choices on offense.
But now it comes with a handy dandy excuse system built in. If the team struggles, it'll be blamed on the injuries, not anything Anthony does. If they succeed, it'll be validation that you should let your best player have the ball and cement him as the one running the show in the Big Apple.
Linsanity is dead. Melocalypse begins.
The Knicks have the eighth and final spot in hand by 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee after the Bucks lost a crucial one at home to the Grizzlies Saturday night. The Bucks' offense has been much improved since adding Monta Ellis and their defense is still stout, but they're a team with an incomplete identity and are relying on a lot of things going right at once. The Knicks on the other hand, are the opposite without Lin or Stoudemire. They are a one-man team (apologies to J.R. Smith) who go to pieces if that one thing doesn't work.
Lin might be able to get back for the playoffs, if he were to rush his recovery, but this comment to reporters from Mike Woodson sees relevant. Via the AP:'
"He's elected to have the surgery and we've got to respect that, because only he knows the pain that he's feeling. And there is a problem, so it's got to be fixed," Woodson said.
That seems to indicate the Knicks weren't necessarily 100 percent behind Lin going for surgery, but that it was Lin's call to make. And you can't blame him. He's finally gotten his shot. Wearing out his knee and doing permanent damage for what is likely a doomed playoff run isn't the smart move, regardless of how desperate the Knicks are to make an impact. It's a torn meniscus, and there's a reason to put that ahead of the rest.
The Knicks could very well wind up making the playoff and facing the Chicago Bulls without Jeremy Lin or Amar'e Stoudemire. An ISO-heavy offense against the Bulls defense.
Guess we're about to settle all those questions about how good Carmelo can be on his own.