Nuggets vs. Knicks; Post Carmelo Trade Who Is “Winning”?
Charlie Sheen will always be “Winning” depending on whose opinion you value, but the Knicks and Nuggets success or lack thereof can easily be gauged by glancing at wins and losses.
We’ve been hearing about it for weeks since the trade went down. But detached from any emotional response and based on cold, heartless raw data who really got the better of this deal?
On February 21st, the Nuggets sent Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman to the Knicks in exchange for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov (bless you), the Knicks 2014 first round pick, the Warriors’ 2013 second round pick, the Warriors 2012 second round pick and $3 million in cash. For the Knicks, the move was predicated on winning now while the Nuggets did it to save money in the long term, and get something for “Mello” rather than losing him for nothing as a free agent.
The Nuggets are 12-4 and are the highest scoring team in the NBA even without Anthony.
The Knicks are 7-12 since the trade and have lost seven in a row at just about the worst possible time. Because they play in the Eastern Conference, they are really in no danger of missing the playoffs thanks to the Pacers, but have slipped to the seventh seed as a result.
Carmelo has taken pretty much all the heat from the media due to the Knicks struggles and the Nuggets winning record without him. But in reality he’s been pretty consistent, scoring only .03 ppg less since the trade, shooting .02 less shots per game, field goal percentage is up .11 and his minutes per game is exactly one minute lower than with the Nuggets. So really Knicks fans, you’re getting what you bargained for. And you can’t say he’s eaten into Amare’s numbers either because his are about the same since the arrival as Mello.
The real difference is depth and the amount of manpower the Nuggets got from the Knicks and the fact that none of the players the Nuggets received were throw ins, while the Knicks got at least one (Renaldo Balkman I’m looking at you and have NO idea why you are in the league) and maybe two if you count Shelden Williams’ forehead.
I’m also going to point to another factor; George Karl is a better coach then Mike D’Antoni. This aspect is so obvious that you almost don’t see it since Karl has largely been taken for granted as a coach because he hasn’t won a ring. In 17 of his last 18 seasons as a coach his teams have made the playoffs and this year will make 18 out of 19. Karl knows how to use players and get them to produce while D’Antoni hasn’t figured it out yet.
While Karl has gotten his new players to gel, D’Antoni and the Knicks just haven’t. The other thing is that D’Antoni (and Donnie Walsh to a certain extent) seems to think that fans won’t complain about losing as long as the Knicks are scoring. But, you don’t have to lose to score a lot or points; just look at Karl’s Nuggets.
So far obviously the Nuggets have gotten the better end of the deal, but every NBA fan knows the real season doesn’t begin until the playoffs. The overall talent in the West combined with the lack of it in general in the East, could play to the Knicks advantage in the long haul.
In three weeks we could be saying the Nuggets peaked too early and the Knicks were “Who we thought they were” and all it would take is the Knicks to pull a first round upset of Boston. But for now, Karl and the Nuggets are “winning.”
(Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/holidaygolight)