The Knicks look like a team which could be 2-3 years from contending with RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson leading the charge but it seems Leon Rose is trying to get the Knicks back in the playoffs next season. I know Chris Paul will likely never be what he was against the Warriors the 2018 West Finals when he had the Warriors down 3-2 but suffered an injury which kept him from playing in Games 6 and 7. Carmelo Anthony was wanted by no one until the Blazers took a nab at him and in my honest opinion he was not even All-NBA worthy and he had the opportunity to chase down a 3rd team selection. If the Knicks were able to get Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony 10 years ago we’d probably be talking a championship next season but if playoffs is the goal why not bring them over? RJ Barrett is primed for a leap next year along with Mitchell Robinson whom compose of the Knicks’ core pieces, those two alone with the guidance of Tom Thibodeau would’ve competed for a playoff spot next season but with a basketball wizard like Chris Paul running the offense Tom Thibodeau’s job would become a lot easier.
Defensively the Knicks won’t be elite but you can bet they’ll be mightily competitive and could make a run reminiscent to the one they made in 1999 when they shocked the NBA world and upset the number 1 seeded Miami Heat in the first round. The Knicks would have the perfect mixture of young talent with veterans a lot like the Miami Heat team which made the Finals this season behind Jimmy Butler. Butler was able to lead a young Miami Heat team which boasted Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo two of Pat Riley’s home-run picks over the recent years, why can’t Chris Paul who has been notorious for putting teams on his back lead a Knicks team with Carmelo Anthony who could play at a all-star level next year in the bright lights of New York and RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson who could both play close to all-star level next season as well? I’ve been hearing a ton of trade chatter but something about the Knicks bringing over one of the top 5 point guards in NBA history over intrigues me because I don’t recall the last time the Knicks had anyone worth mentioning running the show. I also know Carmelo Anthony is in a good place mentally now and no longer thinks he is a top 5 player in the NBA which is good for team chemistry.
There won’t be a battle for supremacy, if you are Carmelo Anthony the objective should be showing RJ Barrett where you went wrong in your basketball career. Carmelo has struggled with being seen as a self-less player throughout his career, he signed with the Portland Trailblazers and I saw exactly what I expected. I thought Portland would have been a dangerous playoff team behind Damian Lillard,CJ McCollum,and Carmelo Anthony but they found themselves trying to catch-up in the standings and ultimately underachieved in my opinion based off how far they got in the playoffs last year. I think highly of RJ Barrett, he had a 27 point game throughout a regular season where he shot well over 50 percent and said all he cared about was the win and the Knicks had over 5 players who scored in double figures. That showed me he approaches the game the right way so co-existing with two players who are known to be ball dominant won’t be much of an issue. RJ Barrett was able to share the spotlight with Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish at Duke so the Knicks will be fine, Mitchell Robinson will be doing a majority of his work on defense so RJ Barrett will more than likely be the Knicks’ 2nd option behind Carmelo Anthony next season.
If Chris Paul was able to carry the Rockets to the West Finals with James Harden who is practically the same player as Carmelo Anthony why would he not be able to do it in the Eastern Conference? Mitchell Robinson will likely be at a Clint Capela level next season, I’d bank on RJ Barrett vying for a spot in the all-star game next season and Carmelo Anthony with a bigger role and more shots could average at least 20 ppg next season. I think the pieces fit together, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson will be around much longer in New York than Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony assuming Leon Rose doesn’t decide to move either of them so put the egos to the side as it will give RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson get playoff experience next season and yes I am guaranteeing the Knicks will make the playoffs next season if Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony are signed.
To conclude I find it ironic how they said the NBA ratings were down even with LeBron James back in the playoffs. Well it wouldn’t hurt to have the Knicks back in the playoffs, even though the Knicks have reeked like a skunk over the past 21 years I’m always curious as to what is going in New York. I gave up on the Knicks after Allan Houston suffered a knee injury, the last straw was watching Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury sharing the same backcourt. I applauded Carmelo Anthony coming over to New York in the early 2010’s but was never convinced with what they put around him, I thought Kristaps Porzingis would’ve been the best Knick since Patrick Ewing but they traded him away as well. I’ve seen the growth of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson and feel they are 2 players who I could be talking about 15 years down the line the way a fan from the 70’s would speak about Clyde Frazier,Earl Monroe,and Willis Reed. Paul and Melo’s careers are winding down, but it’s never too late for a career defining moment. I’ll go ahead and say if RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson make the strides I am expecting next season, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul could be lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy 2021, till next time.