February 24, 2024

Reilly’s Rants: The Collapse of the Knicks’ “Amar’e-Melo” Project

On Monday, the knockout blow came earlier than the New York Knicks expected. After losing their second game of a best-of-seven game series against the Miami Heat, Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knick’s starting forward, punched a glass enclosure to a fire extinguisher, lacerating his hand. Although the effects of this cut are not fully known, Stoudemire may sit out the rest of the series.

The injury is just one on a long list of players that have plunged the Knicks into turmoil as of late. Rookies Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin have both been sidelined with knee injuries. Players such as Baron Davis and Tyson Chandler have been listed as day-to-day, suffering from back ailments and flu-like symptoms respectively. All of this is paired with Carmelo Anthony’s inconsistency (only he could score eleven points in one game, and forty in another), who is forcing New York fans to have little left to look forward to this season. The collective feeling is “Maybe next year…”

The expectation this season was the same as last, lots of high hopes, but followed by dreadful disappointments. It has been more than a year since supposed “savior” Carmelo Anthony has joined the Knicks. Fans may remember last year’s playoffs, in which the Knicks were promptly silenced in four games by rival Boston. Many believed that Anthony did not have enough time to integrate into the Knicks’ roster and play style. These same fans had to watch the Knicks barely make the playoffs this season, and more recently, watch them lose their first two games to Miami, their division rival.

If you told someone in 2007 that Amar’e Stoudmire and Carmelo Anthony would play on the same team, they would most likely believe you were referring to the All-Star game. Both players at the peak of their careers, practically single-handedly carried their team to the playoffs. It’s amazing how times have changed. Now these players step onto the courts as two of the most inconsistent players in the NBA. Carmelo and Amar’e were supposed to compliment one another. Now, the stats in which one of them is off the court seem to be more enticing than when both of them are on. The idea of pairing two superstars has utterly failed for the Knicks, and now they must await their imminent playoff defeat wondering what went wrong.

Let’s be upfront, Amar’e Stoudemire has won playoff games. On a team with rookies, Amar’e needs to come out as a leader that he was paid $100 million in 2010 to be. Instead he has emerged to be a player that seems to spends more time off the court than on it, and, more recently, has shown that he clearly can’t control his emotions. Leaders do not injure themselves in frustration. Derek Jeter would never put his hand through glass after a tough loss, he would bring the team together and get them ready for the next game. Amar’e Stoudmire acted like a child through his temper tantrum. In fact, this whole “fire extinguisher” event is oddly comparable to Metta World Peace’s (Ron Artest) elbow to James Harden as both made a poor decision that put their team’s playoff hopes on ice. Except that when World Peace does it, it is “violent,” and when Stoudemire does it, it is out of “passion.” They’re both children, just in different sandboxes.

The story is not over. Stoudemire and Anthony both have three years left on their contracts. Some people say that the $165 million dollar Amar’e-Melo Project may still work. They can still turn the team around.  It may be true that all of the coach troubles did lead to this shaky season. It is possible they need the full season schedule (opposed to the shortened lockout schedule) in order to reach their full potential. Maybe the rookies just need more experience, but while we wait, game 3 is just around the corner.