“We don’t have a lot of go-to guys,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said after Thursday’s chilly practice at the Spurs’ arena. “We have a lot of ball movement and stuff, and we’ve got to get back to that. And we will.”
It was not a specific call for change — or a suggestion to trade for Anthony — but it was an admission: The Knicks, lacking a reliable No. 2 scorer, are vulnerable to shooting slumps and anything that disrupts Stoudemire’s game.
“It becomes a tough game,” Stoudemire said, adding, “In order for us to win, we have to have a team effort.”
It's been clear that the key to winning for the Knicks is the all around contributions of its players. After failing to sign a second superstar last summer to pair up with Stoudemire, depth was bound to be a strength.
When the offense of the likes of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Raymond Felton (or at least two of the three) is on, the team is a very tough one to beat. The intangibles of Landry Fields, and defense of Ronny Turiaf, have also been added bonuses this season.
In a perfect world, all of these players will completely hone their skills and contribute to the fullest. Of course, when that does in fact happen, the Knicks often win. However, that's obviously not always the case.
Which of these players (and their contributions, in addition to Stoudemire's) is most key to the team's success? Is it the offense and playmaking ability of Felton, who was playing "Frazier-like," as Knicks' legend and broadcaster Walt Frazier noted last month? Is it the defense of Turiaf, who has proven to be a spark plug for the Knicks on a consistent basis?
Perhaps the most crucial thing for the Knicks is the increased offense of (a hopefully more consistent in the future) Chandler, whose scoring this season is proving he could become more than simply a career complementary player.
Nevertheless, the assertion from Coach D'Antoni that the Knicks are lacking go-to players (even while Chandler may very well be developing into one) is noteworthy for a very specific reason. With the team beginning to skid (currently on a four game losing streak, with two games coming up against Western Conference powerhouses Spurs and Thunder), perhaps it's finally time (as Beck merely begins to suggest) for Donnie Walsh to make that extra push for Carmelo Anthony.
While before, a trade for Anthony may have shaken up the team for the worse, his presence may instead now provide a tremendous boost to a Knicks team that very well could be returning home, unfortunately reeling, on a six game losing streak.