Synthesizing and Analyzing: 1.) Linsanity 2.) Mike D’antoni’s Forced Expulsion 3.) Carmelo Anthony’s Impact on the Knicks
Essay covers up until March 20, 2012.
*The stat line is in Point-Rebounds-Assists.
*Carmelo Anthony is also referred to in this essay as Melo.
Brief Intro to Lin
When we talk about Linsanity we define it narrowly as the New York Knicks winning NBA basketball games due to Jeremy Lin’s contribution in playing team basketball. It also can be defined broadly as the point guard from Harvard, who faced a few vocational obstacles that left him very uncertain if he would remain in the NBA, to making it on two back-to-back covers of Sports Illustrated because of his unexpected successful performances in the NBA as of late.
There are many past underdogs that played in the league (i.e., John Starks, Scottie Pippen, remember them?), Jeremy Lin is just one of them. Lin, from the Bay Area, carried a potential to play at the college level, however his body was scrawny, and he needed to develop a basketball build.
Lin was not offered any scholarships to play basketball in college. Lin ended up at Harvard (not exactly a basketball powerhouse) where he averaged a 3.1 grade point average in economics, and on the hardwood his senior year, Lin averaged 16.4-4.4-4.5, 2.4 steals and 1.1 blocks a game. Shooting an impressive 51.9 percent average from the field. One of the most memorable games for the Harvard kid, next to his game winner against William & Mary, was in December 2009 when Lin put up 30-9-3 with 3 steals and 2 blocks against the No. 14, Connecticut Huskies.
He left Harvard with record in points scored, rebounds, assists and steals when Lin graduated in 2010. Sports Illustrated for their Feb. 1, 2010 issue, put out a 4 page spread of the Harvard kid. The article read, “Harvard School of Basketball.”
Lin’s game needed improvement; however, there was no question if Jeremy could play in the NBA. The kid could clearly play at the competitive level. Lin after graduating from Harvard ended up undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft.
Lin was persistent. He did well in the 2010 NBA Summer League. Lin received the coaches attention, especially in a crucial game where he faced the first round, first pick in the 2010 NBA draft, John Wall. Lin did more than hang with the top pick of the NBA draft, he subtly overshadowed him in the Summer league. Throughout this Lin worked on his game, putting on more muscle and reworking on his jump shot.
However, once he entered the NBA, Lin was twice cut from NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, and was sent to the development league three times.
Lin would end up signing with the Knicks on a NBA minimum NBA salary. Madison Square Garden, the biggest stage in NBA basketball, is where Jeremy Lin had his breakthrough. It began on Feb. 4, when Carmelo recommended the Knicks Coach Mike D’antoni to put Lin in. Lin scored 25 points off the bench resulting in a Knicks win over the Nets, which birthed Linsanity. Lin then was on an insane tear that Charles Barkley echoed an opinion many basketball fans share that it was, “really stupid the NBA denied him (Jeremy Lin) in the beginning.” The Knicks were winning with Lin, which we will observe in detail later on in this essay.
Brief Intro to Carmelo Anthony (Melo)
Who is this player who recommended to D’antoni to put Lin in the game?
Here, I will move this essay to Carmelo Anthony to put him and this essay in context.
Carmelo Anthony, known as Melo who was traded to the New York Knicks from the Denver Nuggets in 2011 to play along side Amare Stoudemire, a star power forward. New York had high hopes, gave him a ‘grip’ of money (2010/11- $18 million, 2012/13- 19 million, 2013/14- 21 million, 2014/15- 23 million). The Time blog is right “…they paid a dear price for ‘Melo.” With this type of salary, New York would expect that Melo would make the Knicks a top, elite team in the Eastern Conference. For Pete’s sake, Knicks fans were cheering Melo before he even stepped forth in the Madison Square Garden wearing a Knicks uniform.
Carmelo With the Denver Nuggets before he played with the New York Knicks
Anthony had a stat-filled stint at Denver (his career high numbers were 28.9-6.0-3.8 in the 2006-2007 season, and with a career average of 24-6-3). Melo played with the Nuggets from 2003 to 2011. He took Denver out of the losing trenches and directly to the playoffs. Before Anthony, the Nuggets were 17-25. Then in the 2003/2004, the Nuggets improved dramatically with a 43-39 record. The Melo Nuggets never made it to the NBA Finals. From 2003 to 2008, the Nuggets with Melo lost in the first round, except in the 2009 season, Melo took them as far as the conference finals where they were defeated by the Lakers. In 2010 they lost to Utah in the first round.
When Melo was traded to New York, Melo and Amare’s Knicks lost to Boston in the first round again, where Anthony’s +/- ratio was at a -40 in the 4 playoff games. Losing in the first round in the playoffs (except in 2009), was Melo’s lot in his basketball career.
Melo was drafted 3rd overall pick behind Lebron James and Darko Milicic in the 2003 draft. Melo had and still has high expectations.
Coach D’antoni’s and Melo’s System of Basketball
Coach D’antoni has been coach of the Knicks since 2008 and had communicated according to Steve Smith of ESPN that he did not want Carmelo Anthony to come to the Knicks. The most probable reasoning being that Carmelo did not fit in with D’antoni’s offensive system of ball movement and high-court pick and rolls, as was the case when D’antoni coached the Phoenix Suns from 2003 to 2008. D’antoni coached the Sun’s Nash/Amare combination. Amare was already playing for the Suns in 2002 to 2010 before he came to the Knicks the same year.
D’antoni’s system placed the point guard at the nucleus, this in turn made the teammates, around the point guard, better. The 38-year-old Nash is still tearing it up at Pheonix in that system. D’antoni’s system is not too shabby. ESPN found that “According to the Elias Sports Bureau, D’Antoni’s career win percentage is .733 in games he’s coached when Steve Nash played for him.”
On the other hand, Carmelo’s system is holding the leather for isolation plays that are tailored for Melo shooting at his sweet spots on the court. Melo’s system of basketball has less to do with ball movement, and has more to do with one-on-one basketball.
When Melo returned to the starting line up on Feb. 20 there was a clash between Carmelo and D’antoni’s systems of basketball.
When Carmelo was at Denver, he was the centerpiece of that team with an offensive system that was tailored for the 1st round draft pick from Syracuse. Melo wasn’t afraid to shoot over 20 shots per game for the Nuggets.
Melo’s style of play transferred over when Melo went to play for the Knicks; for example, with the Knicks, Melo shot 17 field goal attempts in the opening game on Christmas Day where they did beat the Boston Celtics. Melo finished with 37 points. In December, he did not put up more than 15 field goal attempts. Starting in January, Melo shot 13 for 31 against Toronto. The Knicks lost that game. The next game, he shot an impressive 12 for 24, but they lost again to the Bobcats. The following match, he shot another impressive 16 for 33 where they beat the Washington Wizards. On Jan. 20, Melo went 11 for 26 where they lost to the Bucks. And on Jan 21, he went 10 for 30, losing again to the Nuggets. Melo likes to shoot the ball, especially in isolation.
In sum, before Linsanity, the Knicks record was 8-15 where Carmelo missed 3 of those games (the Knicks ended up losing those games). The Knicks were a struggling 8-12 with Melo. They were a sinking ship, and D’antoni’s job was in question.
This is where Jeremy Lin comes in. With Baron Davis, a star point guard 12 years in the league, sidelined with an injury, and the Knick back-up point guards not doing well on the court, especially Mike Bibby. The Knicks needed a boost. D’antoni, supposedly took Melo’s recommendation on Feb. 4. D’antoni reached deep into the bench, pulled the splinters off Lin’s bottom and put him in the game against the Nets.
Linsanity started. Lin scorched Deron William’s Nets dropping 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists, shooting 52 percent from the field, contributing to a Knicks win.
Lin continued his hot streak, and D’antoni started Lin the next game against the Jazz where Lin put up 28-2-8. This is the game where Amare was on leave for four games due to the death of his sibling. Also, Carmelo injured his groin and left the game after just 6 minutes.
On Feb. 8 Lin put up 23-4-10 in 36 minutes, shooting over 64 percent. A memorable moment was when Lin crossed up John Wall for a dunk. Remember that, John Wall was partly responsible for Lin entering the NBA. He did well on Wall again on both ends of the floor.
Next up were the Lakers. Lin was playing. Knicks were winning. Yet the critics argued that Knick’s opponents thus far were not the greatest in the NBA. Lin dropped 38-4-7, shooting 56 percent from the field to beat the Lakers. How’s that for the critics? The NBA season, due to the lockout, was a busy one. Teams were playing back-to-back games. Because of the busy game schedule, Kobe had no recollection of this Linsanity because the Lakers were currently on a long road trip. Teams now got the memo on Lin. Because of this, defenses began to focus on Lin.
The next game, on Feb. 11, Amare would return from the starting lineup. Lin and the Knicks would face off the Timberwolves where point guard Ricky Rubio played defense on Lin as if his life depended on it. Lin shot a poor 33 percent from the field, yet managed to put up 20-6-8. Most importantly the Knicks got the win.
3 days later, Toronto got a taste of Linsanity as Lin continued the Knicks winning streak, putting up a 27-2-11 performance and hitting the game winning 3-point-shot. Lin left only 0.5 seconds in the 4th quarter. His teammates and staff immersed Lin on the court in enthusiasm and chest pounds. The final score 82-85, Knicks win.
Here we have a player who barely made the NBA. Lin was the last resort, not even an option. Lin had been sleeping on two different couches. He did not want to go apartment hunting because he was uncertain where he would end up next. Prior to Linsanity, Lin was considering playing professional basketball over seas. His appearances on ESPN Sports Center would be in cheering fashion. Now off the bench, Lin is winning consecutive ball games for the Knicks. Sports Illustrated, in back-to-back February issues made him their cover. The first issue gave 6 of their pages to Lin as the headline read “From Couch to Clutch,” the second issue gave another 6 pages to Lin with a headline that read “A Run Like No Other.”
The next game was Feb. 14. The Knicks faced a struggling Sacramento Kings. In 26 minutes Lin put up 10-5-13. Lin shot 4 for 6. The Knicks coasted to a 100-85 victory. Knicks were on a 7 game winning streak.
Two days after the win over the Kings, the Knicks matched up with the harrowing New Orleans Hornets who were on a 3 game winning streak. In this game, Spike Lee wore Lin’s High School Palo Alto jersey. Lin went 44 percent from the field and finished with 26-2-5. This was the first Knick loss after winning 7 consecutive games. Lin turning over the ball was an issue during the winning streak, but it became a bigger issue after the loss to the Hornets, yet Coach D’antoni believed in Lin; D’antoni, in a post game interview, stated that Lin, with time, would get better in not turning over the ball. D’antoni wanted Lin to continue taking risks in his passing game. D’antoni was right as of March 21, 2012 Lin averages 3.6 turnovers this season and assists are currently at 6.3 a game.
Next up were the NBA champions Dallas Mavericks. Lin had a remarkable performance, finishing the game with 28-4-14, shooting 55% from the field, 5 steals and 1 block. As was the Lakers game, this also was a big game for Jeremy Lin. This game he made a statement: Lin can perform well against top caliber teams. Jason Terry the 34-year-old shooting guard for the Mavericks, would whine publically regarding Jeremy Lin, crediting D’antoni’s system as being 95 to 100% responsible for Jeremy Lin’s success.
Lin averaged 24.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 2.6 steals in those 9 games just mentioned above.
As Jason was ‘hating’ on the Linsanity, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, teams who waived Lin were in regret for having waived Lin. Rocket’s general manager Daryl Morey posted on Twitter, “We should have kept (Jeremy Lin). Did not know he was this good.” 
Lin’s teammate, Tyson Chandler said, “I don’t think I ever seen a guy come from the end of the bench, and have this type of impact.”
Steve Nash also had high remarks for Lin, stating on Twitter, “If you love sports you have to love what Jeremy Lin is doing.”
Magic Johnson, the great point guard of the Lakers continually gave Jeremy Lin mad love in post Knick game talks, Magic stated, “Now they (Knicks) have a real point guard (Jeremy Lin) to distribute the basketball…a new sheriff’s in town. Just jump on his back and go for a ride.”
Kobe Bryant stated strong words regarding Jeremy Lin:
”The biggest thing to me is how everybody missed that. They all would be fired if I was owning a team. I hear this stuff about it came out of nowhere, and I think it’s. You can’t play that well and just come out of nowhere. There has to something there and everybody missed it, so heads would roll.”
Lin made a huge statement. Lin would lead the Knicks to 8 wins and 1 loss. Lin went apartment hunting; this meant no more sleeping on couches.
How did Jeremy Lin do so well? The answer is two-fold. Lin was given the opportunity to play longer minutes, and he played remarkable in D’antoni’s system of basketball that had Lin at the nucleus. Further, Lin demonstrated his great court vision, ability to pass the ball, quick first step that would get him to the basket, a fearlessness entering the rim, craftiness around the rim, an improved jumper, and a defense that was better than expected. Not only did he demonstrate his individual skills, but he made his teammates around him better. Knick announcers during a Knicks game stated, regarding Lin, “”When your point guard is unselfish, it’s contagious.” He literally made his teammates, such as, Novak, Shumpert, Field, Jeffries and Tyson better by playing team basketball.
D’antoni’s job, which was in question, was saved by Jeremy Lin, or as Jeremy Lin put it in an interview, Lin’s job was saved by D’antoni.
It is important to point out that D’antoni’s coaching position was at risk before Linsanity, when the Knicks record was 8-15 in December/January 2012. Knicks during this time went on a 6 game losing streak from Jan. 12 to Jan. 21, with a healthy Melo.
What Happened After Linsanity?
All of a sudden the Knicks went down hill after Feb. 19. The Knicks won only 2 out of the 8 games they played since Feb. 20.
Great Jehoshaphat! What happened? Yes, the Knicks had a tough schedule ahead of them, but this does not fully justify to their sudden fall.
What happened to the Knicks and their winning roll? And what happened to D’antoni’s coaching job?
The answer is complex, but the simple answer is the date, Feb. 20,when Carmelo Anthony came back to the starting line up for the New York Knicks.
The Knicks with Melo back went 2-8. On March 4 to March 12 they went on a 5 game losing streak. Lin still averaged 16 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game in an average of 34.3 minutes shooting on average 46.6 percent.
Since early February, NBA commentators to Knicks fans were worried, that Melo coming back would disrupt the Knicks chemistry. Melo did not share the same sentiments. When Melo was sidelined, during Linsanity, he made public statements that he was all for Jeremy Lin. Melo mentioned that he was the one that recommended D’antoni to put Lin in the game on Feb. 4.
Lin also in interviews stated that he loved the idea of Melo’s return, and didn’t understand what all this talk was all about regarding Melo fitting in with the “revived team.” Lin said he was shooting more shots with Melo out, and that when he came back on the team, that task would be spread out to him. Lin credited Melo as an offensive threat that would make the Knicks more dangerous. Lin also stated that Melo would have no problem shooting 12 or 13 a game.
In short, the talk from the media of Melo not fitting in with the new revived team was right.
So to sum up, I provided a chart splitting the periods between [1.] Melo playing and Lin on the bench, [2.] Lin off the bench, [3.] Melo returning to the Knicks squad.
“New Yorkers deserve a player who reflects their values, not a disciplined articulate floor general like Jeremy Lin…Lin was no Knick he looked for the open man and drew fouls instead of missing reigns of contested threes and then pointing fingers at teammates whose names he never learned..Now that Lin’s gone the fans could watch Amare and Melo suck!…” –Hosts from Get out of my Face
What Actually Happened
THE REALITY – WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED
Periods  w/ Carmelo  w/ Lin  w/ Carmelo Back playing with Lin
Here, I will analyze the 3 different periods focusing on Melo and Lin’s stats:
Period 1—Here is what happened
 Carmelo’s Stat Line: 23.9-6.35-3.05. Minutes-35.7. Field Goal Attempts 19.85. FG% 37.6%
In the 20 games Carmelo played from Christmas day to February 3rd, Melo averaged 35.7 minutes per game. His stat line was 23.9-6.35-3.05. Melo attempted 19.85 field goal attempts. What is important to note is that he put up as many field attempts when he was in Denver. In the 8 seasons he played in Denver he averaged 20 field goal attempts per game, in those 20 attempts per game in New York his shooting from the field was 37.6 percent. The Knicks went 8-12 this is not great especially for a super star player.
Period 2—Here is what happened
 Lin’s Stat Line: 24.6-4.1-9.2. Minutes-38.5. Field Goal Attempts 17.5. FG%–52.5
Averaging 2.6 steals.
In the 9 games that Jeremy Lin played since February 4th. Jeremy Lin in those 9 games did phenomenal, 8 out of those 9 games without were Melo (In the Jazz game Melo left the court with an injury playing a total of 6 minutes).
Just take a look at his numbers in those 9 games coming straight from the bench. Coming from the end of the bench, Lin averaged 38.5 minutes. Lin’s stat line, 24.6-4.1-9.2, averaging 17.5 shot attempts while shooting 52.5 percent from the field. His turnover average was 5.7 which is high for a point guard (Coach D’antoni still wanted him to take the risks). Knicks went 8-1 with Lin. Lin made a huge difference to the Knicks squad, not only in stats, but effectively running the Knicks system, distributing the ball (not just with assists, but also with passes before the assist pass), delivering in clutch situations, and to add to that Lin was great on the defensive end averaging 2.2 steals per game. Teams by the second Lin start were setting defensive schemes to stop Linsanity.
Period 3—Here is what happened
 Lin’s stat line in the 10 games with Melo back under coach D’antoni
16.2-3.5-7.8. Minutes-34.1 Field Goal Attempts- 13.9, FG% 37.5%. On the defensive end: Steals 2.5, Blocks 0.3. Turnovers: 3.9
Melo’s stat line in the 10 games Melo came back under coach D’antoni
19-5.8-2.8. Minutes- 33.2 Field Goal Attempts-17.1, FG% 39.1%. On the defensive end: Steals 0.8, Blocks 0.5. Turnovers: 2.1
If you take a look at what is going on here in the past 10 games with Melo coming back to the starting lineup under Coach D’antoni, the minutes for both Lin and Melo have not changed much.
In regards to field goal attempts Lin is shooting 3.6 less shots; Melo shot less 19.85 to 17.1 shots per game, a difference of 2.75 shots. Both Melo and Lin shot poorly in those 10 games both under 40 percent. In the Miami game Lin went 1-11 which brought down Lin’s shooting percentage, which is no excuse. Melo has no excuse as well as the “centerpiece” of the team. As a star player of his pay, he should be shooting over 43 percent, if he wants isolations, in my opinion.
Gaging ones defense by how many steals and blocks a player gets per game is not the best way because there are other factors that go into defense, i.e., team defense and how well the player plays his match up, and the zone. Yet, Lin’s steal averages are still very high. Currently Lin is 10th in the NBA in that category. Melo did not record a single steal or block during these 10 games game. To be fair, the overall team defense for the Knicks was horrible. Knicks defensive and offensive rebounding was horrendous which was manifested in the Knicks game against Chicago. Carmelo did pull down 8 rebounds, yet Amare, a power forward pulled down only 3 against the bulls!
The Knicks schedule was rough as well, playing Miami on Feb. 23, and after the All-star break facing off 3 tough road games against Boston (March 4), Dallas (March 6), San Antonio (March 7), Philadelphia (March 11)and Chicago (March 12).
Melo put up 19 points per game those 10 games. Lin was still going strong, even with Amare and Melo back, averaging 16.2 points in those 10 games.
In regards to the turnovers, which was a recurring critique from analysts, Lin in those 10 games with Melo back, averaged 3.9 turnovers, 1.8 less turnovers per game.
But during these 10 games, the Knicks went 2-8, with a 6 game losing streak, reminiscent of the Knicks losing streak this season from Jan. 12 to Jan. 21 where they lost 6 straight, Melo playing in 5 of those 6 games. Lin played a total of 5 trash minutes against the Oklahoma Thunder on Jan. 14—Lin entered the game with 4 minutes and 41 seconds left in the 4th quarter making a substitution for Iman Shumpert when the score was 77-99.
D’antoni’s Forced Quit as Coach on March 14, 2012
Melo stats are not surprising after Feb. 20, when looking at period 1. Melo’s on and off the court attitude towards D’antoni’s system had a negative effect on the Knicks chemistry. Instead of adjusting to the D’antoni’s system, Melo was defiant against it. This defiance, I believe, led to the 6 game losing streak that forced D’antoni to quit his job.
ESPN NBA analyst Chris Boussard, covering the NBA since 1995 and senior writer for ESPN, the Magazine, reports the attitude of Melo, during the losing streak:
…the Knicks have lost 8 of their past 10 games. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but while some within the organization are questioning superstar Carmelo Anthony, most of the fingers are being pointed at coach Mike D’Antoni, according to several sources close to the situation… D’Antoni, hailed as an offensive genius during his successful tenure in Phoenix, has lost the Knicks’ locker room, the sources say…They think he’s a good guy. But he doesn’t have the respect of the team anymore… In addition to questioning D’Antoni, players are complaining about playing time, and confused about the offensive and defensive schemes… Management, the coaching staff and the players know Anthony is hurting the offense and in turn, the defensive morale, according to the sources. While D’Antoni’s offense calls for Anthony to plant himself on the wing at the 3-point line, he often creeps in to his favorite spot in the floor — the area between the elbow, the arc and the post. That kills the Knicks’ ability to run the high pick-and-roll and ruins the spacing that is so critical to D’Antoni’s offense…That’s at the very core of our problem,” one person close to the situation said. “That messes up the fluidity of the offense. Melo could do it, but he’s got to trust the offense…When Anthony first returned — and it still appears to be the case — Lin would bring the ball upcourt and try to run D’Antoni’s system. When Anthony would abandon the offense, Lin would not pass him the ball, which irritated Anthony, sources said. So when Lin tried to talk to Anthony on the court, Anthony would turn his back to the point guard and tune him out. The two never had heated exchanges, though, and the players tried to come to a compromise, agreeing to run D’Antoni’s system while also mixing in post-ups for Anthony. But it’s just a mess because D’Antoni’s system is not designed for that,” one source said.
Simply put Carmelo Anthony did not agree and went against D’antoni system. D’antoni’s offensive system put the pure point guard position at the nucleus, this meant a frequent use of the high screen and roll, a lot of ball movement and spacing, getting the whole team involved, and a higher speed play.
Carmelo’s offensive system, as we have seen early on in this essay, is centered on Melo’s offensive shooting (over 20 shots per game for Melo) and isolation plays at Melo’s sweet spots.
In short, D’antoni’s system can be summed up as teamwork, and Melo’s as isolation. Which one worked? The answer is simple, D’antoni’s system of basketball. With Melo 8-12. And 8-1 with Lin and D’antoni 8-1. And then 2-8 when Melo came back on Feb. 20, Melo did something to the Knicks chemistry and momentum.
There were two systems of basketball during the Knick’s recent 6 game losing streak: Melo would go to his sweet spots fragmenting the high screen and roll offense.
There were clearly internal problems not only with Coach D’antoni and Carmelo Anthony, but from stars players ,Amare and Baron Davis. I believe, that egos were getting in the way.
If D’antoni wants to run his effective offense, and the star players do not agree with his offensive system because they want more isolation plays, and run another offensive system contrary to D’antoni’s during real game time then of course there is going to be fragmentation! If two systems are competing against each other, it messes up the chemistry and teamwork.
Was this defiance against Coach D’antoni called for? I strongly believe, no.
It would be called for if this situation happened:
THE LOSING, LOSING, LOSING SITUATION Equation:
 Knicks & Melo  w/ Lin  w/ Carmelo Back
8-12 10-22 14-28
Let’s say that when Lin came in and only had 2 wins. In this equation Lin would have been put back on the bench or worse waived for the third time. And Let’s say Melo came back under D’antoni and only contributed to 4 wins with a total of 28 losses. Then this situation, it would be justified in firing D’antoni or forcing him to resign.
Let’s take a looking at another hypothetical situation. This situation below would be ideal for Melo:
THE WINNING, LOSING, WINNING SITUATION Equation:
Period  Knicks & Melo  w/ Lin  w/ Carmelo Back
Win/Loss15-8 15-17 24-18
Here in this hypothetical situation you have Carmelo leading his team to victories early on in the season. Carmelo would have his injury on Feb. 6, and Lin, not doing well in D’antoni’s system, would come in and lose games. As a result, Knicks would want Carmelo’s return because they are losing games. The Carmelo comes back on Feb. 20 and tears it up and brings the Knicks back to a 24-18 record, getting prepared for the big dance. With this equation everyone is happy, and the coach D’antoni’s job is secure because he has the Ws to account for. Lin goes back to the bench getting splinters or possibly waived for the third time, and play professional ball in China.
What about this situation here below? This would surely have secured D’antoni’s job.
The IDEAL ALL-WIN HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION Equation:
Period  Knicks & Melo  w/ Lin  w/ Carmelo Back
Win/Loss15-8 24-8 32-10
This, here, would be the ideal situation for everyone. Knicks and Melo do well from the start of the season. Melo has his injury, and Lin comes carrying the baton and continues to rack up wins under the D’antoni system.
Melo comes back and adjusts to D’antoni’s system with a new pure point guard in Jeremy Lin that came from out of nowhere.
The team is more involved now having a pure point, they continue to win games, and position themselves well for the playoffs. Lin is starting, Melo can’t help being happy because it’s almost all wins for him, and D’antoni’s coaching job is not even in question.
The last hypothetical situation was possible, yet this is not what happened. In reality the Knicks were doing bad with Melo going 8-12 with him. On Feb. 4 Linsanity began, where Lin led a struggling Knicks to 8 wins and 1 loss. Melo came back to a tough schedule ahead of the Knicks, and internal problems with clashes with D’antoni’s and Melo offensive system occurred, resulting in a 6 game losing streak. 2 wins and 8 losses since Melo came back (under D’antoni).
Melo is a major cause to why D’antoni quit. Mike Woodson, who believes in the Melo isolation, replaced D’antoni, and Knicks snapped their losing streak against a struggling Portland team under a new coach. Melo comes out hearing boos from the New York fans, but he has 7 assists, and as an announcer stated in the Knicks versus Portland game that Melo was showing his unselfish side because he usually doesn’t pass. That game had less isolation plays (hopefully this will be a consistent trend).
As Steve Smith stated that Melo did not want to publically go against the coach because that would look horrible in New York, and bring about less fan support for Melo.
Yet we know what Melo was doing. He was going contrary to the overall good of the team in not adjusting to an effective system already in place, but resorting to a system centered on him.
In addition, do you remember the Miami versus Knicks game before the All-star weekend? The Heat adjusted their defense, not for Carmelo Anthony, but to stop Jeremy Lin.
ESPN analyst Ian O’Conner, wrote regarding the Knicks loss to the Heat on Febuary 23rd before going into the All-star weekend,
“The 1-for-11 from the field left many wondering if Lin’s charmed gig was up, as if other opponents hadn’t already decided the kid should be trapped high and early and forced to go left. One coach on the losing side of Linsanity conceded his team tried applying the same defensive strategy and simply wasn’t good enough to execute it. Miami had the talent and tenacity to make it work, that’s all. But as the world’s best basketball team, for now anyway, the Heat only confirmed that the Knicks are Lin’s by building their entire game plan around stopping him, not Anthony or anyone else. What was it again that Justin Tuck said of Brady before the Giants’ second Super Bowl victory over the Patriots? “The way to kill a snake is take off his head. The way to kill an offense as potent as that one is, is making sure you take care of Brady.”
These are strong words from the ESPN analyst, yet I believe to be true. If one saw that game (download it); O’Conner was right. The Heat’s defense mainly adjusted to Lin, not Melo. This may have been a subconscious move by the Heat, but it was a huge message that the Knicks were Lin’s team.
It wasn’t a power struggle with Lin and Melo as O’Conner, indirectly, stirred up from his observations from the Heat game. It was an internal, indirect struggle between the star players and Coach D’antoni that centered his system around Lin than the stars.
The following equations in italics explains it best:
Lin + D’antoni = Lin as the nucleus of the New York Knicks.
To say that one is a nucleus or key is different to say that he is the best player on the team, as Ian O’Conner communicated. This equation is what is going on in Phoenix with the 38 year old Steve Nash. And in the past when we saw the Nash/Amare combo, who’s team was it? Amare is far more athletic than Nash, yet it was Nash’s Suns.
Imagine yourself in Melo’s shoes. Melo overrated resume includes being a 5 time NBA All-star, making it 3 times to the NBA third team. He shoots more than 20 shots a game, and has a good 6 to 7 years left in him. Not being the centerpiece of the team is unthinkable, even if it negatively affected the Knicks.
Ultimately it was Knicks management that forced D’antoni’s quit, but why? It is because they had 8 losses in 10 games. Why did they have 8 losses in period 3? Melo brought in another system which was demonstrated on court.
Simply put, Melo did not like this equation, so he rebelled, and put up a new equation that looked like this:
Melo + Mike Woodson = Melo again at the centre of the Knicks.
Melo taking the non-centre role for the Knicks, to Melo would probably be like the picture of Lester Burnham a magazine writer in the film American Beauty working at a fast food restaurant.
This, I believe, led to D’antoni’s forced quit.
Who Should Have Gotten the Axe?
Here, we will use the ‘singling out logic,’ which makes most sense:
THE SINGLING OUT LOGIC
D’antoni + Melo – Lin = 8-15
D’antoni + Lin – Melo = 16-16 (7-1)
D’antoni + Lin + Melo = 18-24 (2-8)
Melo should have gotten the axe. After D’antoni’s forced quit, it made headlines in Sports media, questioning the quit.
ESPN reflects on March 14, 2012 after D’antoni’s quit,
“After starting last season 28-26, the acquisition of Carmelo raised expectations in the Big Apple as the Knicks were supposed to join the Eastern Conference elite. Instead, New York went the opposite direction losing 38 of 70 games since… Since his return from injury 10 games ago, the Knicks are scoring 12 more points per 100 possessions and allowing 12 fewer points with Anthony on the bench.”
In the end, I hope the Knicks do well. Hope the superstars set aside their ego a little, and play team basketball on both ends of the court.
Christopher Gasper of the Boston globe on ESPN March 18, 2012 had some strong words for Melo:
“Something rare happened for Carmelo Anthony as a Knicks last Wednesday; he won big, Anthony notched his most significant victory wearing a New York uniform winning a power struggle with Coach Mike D’antoni who resigned. Anthony, won’t have to sacrifice D’antoni’s egalitarian, up tempo offense, or a take a back seat on the back pages to Jeremy Lin anymore. The offense, the whole Knicks orgnization, really, will run through him. Be careful with what you wish for Carmelo because you didn’t just remove your coach, you removed the excuse for why your tenure with the Knicks has been the biggest Broadway flop since Spider-man: Turn off the Dark since trading everything except the Statue of Liberty to acquire Anthony last Feburary, the Knicks are a merely 35 and 38 in the regular season even though they won three straight, they were 28-26 prior. Melo has provided the ‘buzz’ that owner Dolan craved but not the success. Anthony got his way, now he has to prove it’s a winning won because the ball does not only stop with Anthony on the Knicks now, but the buck does too.” 
If you have read this far, wow thanks, but the latter part of the essay probably sounded like an out right Carmelo Anthony ‘bash.’ Yes, that disposition is present. My original title for this essay was “Linsanity started by Carmelo then it was fostered Melo, but will Linsanity cease because of Cry Baby Anthony’s Ego? Probably not.”
I recognize that I carry with my writing a baggage and a bias that every writer brings in. Yes, I would love to continue to see Jeremy Lin do well. It’s great and rare seeing an unselfish, pure point guard these days in the NBA. Lin makes the Knicks better, and it’s great to see that. I thought with a new Coach in Mike Woodson, that Jeremy Lin would gradually lose playing time. In a hypothetical situation as I gave in this essay, Lin rightly should be on the bench, if he was not positively impacting the Knicks, but that is not the case.
Yes, I was upset about Mike D’antoni being fired. I believe that D’antoni was not the primary cause of the Knicks losing, post Linsanity. Watching the players on court body language during their losing streak, reading and watching ESPN covering this “Melo Drama,” and looking carefully at the stats, I can conclude that D’antoni’s force quit was not fully justifiable, and could have been prevented.
What Now? Has the Linsanity, Current Drama with D’antoni Turned Melo into a Team Player? And for how Long?
The Knicks won 4 games straight thus far under the new coach, Mike Woodson.
Here are Carmelo Anthony’s numbers in the 4 game winning streak: Minutes—27.25 with a stat line of 15.25-5.25-5 shooting 40.5%, averaging 13 field goal attempts (1.5 steals and 0 blocks).
As to Melo, in these 4 games this is a very different side of Carmelo Anthony who usually shoots 20+ field goal attempts. His field percentage is a bit low for his All-star resume, yet viewing the games and taking a look at his assist numbers in the past four games, he is playing better defense, and he’s playing team basketball contrary to what was going in the recent 6 game losing streak and in January. Is this a different Melo?
Here are Jeremy Lin’s numbers in the 4 game winning streak: Minutes—27.75 with a stat line of 14- 4.75-6.75 shooting 53%, averaging 7.75 field goal attempts from the field (1 steal and 0.5 blocks).
Lin is doing what he’s been doing this season. I won’t expand more here.
Mike Woodson knows what happened during Linsanity in Feb., he was the assistant coach during D’antoni. What happened during Linsanity was straight up wins with a team chemistry that Lin developed with his play without the injured Melo in D’antoni’s system.
Woodson knows that several losses means getting fired in New York, hence, the pressure is on for the new coach. Woodson knows that isolation plays for Melo (whether Woodson will gradually bring in more isolation plays for Melo, we don’t know) does not win many basketball games, unless he turns into a deadly Kobe (but that takes hard work, years of practice, and a talent I believe Melo does not possess).
Simply put, team basketball wins games.
If Melo continues to focus more on the defensive end, and plays that team ball they’ll go farther than with his selfish (for lack of a better word) play.
If they exchange Lin’s team ball for Melo’s selfish ball, I strongly believe that the Knicks will not make it to the dance. I hope the Knicks go far.
I’ll finally end with these two statements from Raptor commentators that were right before the Knicks versus Toronto tip off on March 20, 2012:
Announcer: “There is so much that is swirling around Carmelo Anthony Jack, because so many people believe that it was Mike D’antoni and that system, and Carmelo Anthony’s defiance that essentially led to the break up.”
Jack Armstrong: “And I think you’re right on the money. And it now comes to the point where he has to prove on the biggest stage in basketball that he could get the job done, and be a team player, and be a winning player, and be a significant part of the solution rather than part of the problem. And Mike Woodson, that’s his job now to trying to get the best out of the guy in holding him accountable on both sides of the floor, and only time will tell.”
End of Essay
Thanks and Dedications:
Thanks to Laura-Claire Corson and Mark Lee who listened to this annoying madness and your interactions as I take my first attempt at writing basketball.
Also, Laura-Claire thanks for editing the first few pages.
*If there are any typos or things regarding the content, let me know, so I can learn from my mistakes.
Essay dedicated to
(1) Coach D’antoni for giving Jeremy Lin a chance on Feb 4.
(2) The haters and doubters. Lin fans would advise the haters, to watch full Knick games!
(3) & my dad who fostered a love for basketball by literally hand making a court (cement and all) in our backyard during middle school. I would brick badly, but it was cousin John who broke the window with his own bad brick.
 Amare’s impact to the Knicks has been rightly argued, but this essay will focus on Carmelo Anthony.
 Informative interview with Jeremy Lin’s high school coach stating this, Peter Diepenbrock http://www.csnbayarea.com/sportsnetBayArea/search/v/51908473/2-15-chronicle-live-jeremy-lin-s-high-school-coach-peter-diepenbrock.htm
 Harvard University does not offer any athletic scholarships to their atheletes.
 The article in its entirety is conveniently here: http://static.psbin.com/3/6/c73u5dnwobb9xx/Sports_Illustrated_feature_Jan_25_2010_Pablo_Torre.pdf
 New York Times article going into some details regarding Jeremy Lin working on his game in 2010 and on: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/sports/basketball/the-evolution-of-jeremy-lin-as-a-point-guard.html?scp=1&sq=The%20revolution%20of%20the%20point%20guard%20Jeremy%20Lin%20&st=cse
 Jeremy Lin in interviews stated that the Development league was crucial in developing him as a player.
 Times Blog on Carmelo getting over paid: http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2011/02/22/did-new-york-pay-too-much-for-melo/
 Melo +/- ration in the 2010-2011 post season (1st round of the playoffs against boston), http://www.nba.com/statistics/plusminus/plusminus_sort.jsp?pcomb=1&season=42010&split=9&team=Knicks
The +/- ratio (which was introduced first in the NBA 2005 season), Steve Ilardi, Ph.d explains what the + (plus)/ – (minus) is, “In essence, the plus-minus stat simply keeps track of the net changes in score when a given player is either on or off the court.” http://www.82games.com/ilardi1.htm
 From the ESPN magazine explaining the Knicks situation prior Jeremy Lin http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/cycads/Plus-Minus-ESPN-Mag-2-20-2012.pdf
 William’s was upset that Linsanity started with him that he circled Febuary 20th on his calendar and scorched Lin back dropping 38 points, hitting 8 three pointers, you could see on Deron’s face that he had an axe to grind.
 Lin averaged 5.7 turnovers in the 9 games (from 2/4 to 2/19) when Lin went without Carmelo, yet they still managed to be 8-1. Since they were winning with Lin and D’antoni’s system; D’antoni in a post game interview regarding Lin’s turnovers stated that he wanted Lin to continue taking risks. Lin’s averaged 3.9 turnovers for the 10 games with Melo back under coach D’antoni, a little lower on the turnovers, yet they went 2-8 since Melo came back. Lin in the past 3 games against Portland and the Pacers have been averaging 3.6 turnovers. 6 against Portland, 3 in the first game with the Pacers, and 2 in the second game with the Pacers, the three straight wins goes to the Knicks playing well as a team. Their bench has been doing very well. Lin for this season (having played 31 games and started 21 of those game) is averaging 3.6 turnovers a game. He is definitely getting better in the turnover category, they are decreasing, and his assists still remain constant averaging 6.3 assists per game this season.
As to pure points in the league, Steve Nash (with 40 games under his belt this season) is averaging 3.6 turnovers this season, and for this 15 year career so far he is averaging 2.9.
 “There’s something to the notion that Lin’s talents are perfectly suited for D’Antoni’s system, that he’s a beneficiary of it, but the Knicks have plugged plenty of journeymen into the job and watched them fail. D’Antoni needed a savior, and he dropped out of the sky for him.”
The system is crucial, but to give more credit (95 to 100%) to the system than the player being able to play effectively in that system is illogical. Let’s put my grandma or even Jason Terry in that system and we’ll have the same results. So, to be fair, this logic should apply for Jason Terry’s championship ring, it’s not really his then, it really belongs to the Dallas Mavericks system. Linsanity really did a number on Terry’s head.
For ‘Jeremy Lin or the system’ go here to the New York Post: http://m.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/knicks_phenom_not_lintimidated_by_AwlUdWGZDZkSNQgjejaQ0N?utm_medium=rss&utm_content=Knicks
 Sports Illustrated, February 20, 2012 issue, pg 46.
 http://search.espn.go.com/happy-returns-for-melo-and-amare/videos/6 (Video unfortunately is no longer available).
 ESPN Sport Science focusing on Lin’s quickness, spin move, and jumper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JFfcKExlC4&feature=youtube_gdata_player
 The best combination for the Knicks thus far is Lin and Novak, their +/- ratio is a impressive +122. http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/tag/_/name/carmelo-anthony
Also, the high screen and roll play was very effective with Tyson. The chemistry looked awesome.
 One can imagine Carmelo’s +/- rating before Linsanity .
  Teams they beat w/ Carmelo Anthony in order: Boston, Sacramento, Washington, Detroit, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Detroit.
Teams they lost w/Carmelo Anthony in order: Golden State, Los Angeles, Toronto, Charlotte, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Denver, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston.
 Teams they beat w/ Jeremy Lin in order: New Jersey, Utah, Washington, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Toronto, Sacramento, and Dallas.
Team(s) they lost w/ Jeremy Lin: New Orleans.
 Teams they beat w/ Carmelo back in order: Atlanta and Cleveland.
Teams they lost w/ Carmelo back, in order: New Jersey, Miami, Boston, Dallas, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
 Carmelo out of the 23 games did not play 3 of the games. The January 14th game he missed the game with a sprained ankle. On January 27th and the 28th against the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets Carmelo was out recovering from ankle, thumb, and wrist injuries.
 Here this is when Lin came into the picture. The first game Lin came on the scene, Melo played the full game against the Nets win.
 2/4 was the only game he played with Melo when Knicks after the Knicks won 6 straight games after 2/4
 On top of that Baron Davis was in on it too: “On top of that, Baron Davis, who just returned from a back injury, is unhappy with his limited role as Lin’s backup. Davis, averaging just 17 minutes a game, has already spoken to D’Antoni about giving him more playing time, according to the sources. While Lin wants to run D’Antoni’s system, Davis is more in line with running the offense through Anthony and Stoudemire, the sources said.”
 Inside Hoops reports:
”More to the point, D’Antoni no longer felt he could “positively affect’’ Carmelo Anthony to buy into his speedball system and being a team player, according to sources.”
 One who thinks dish first and the swish second.
 If one wanted to be technical, it would be 8 wins and 1 loss if we were to count February 4th, that was when Carmelo played as well.
 Stating the pun from ESPN here http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/tag/_/name/carmelo-anthony
 Phil Jackson in his book talks about what they look for in a player, one who passes. Jackson co-wrote the book with Charley Rosen titled More Than a Game (2002) wrote: “We (Phil Jackson and Charley Rosen) discussed the coaches and the new ideas some of them have brought to basketball. We compared the various styles of play, always favoring team oriented offenses as opposed to one-on-one performances. We also traded our opinions of the players, looking for the ones who have the makings of champions. The ability of a player to pass the ball was always an important criterion for us. Is he only capable of making “bailout” desperation passes when he can’t find a shot for himself? Or does a player understand (as hockey players do) that the most important pass is the pass before the assist-pass?” (65)
Written by Inwoo Lee.