This is nothing you didn’t already know. But while Knicks fans will absolutely rally to Carmelo Anthony’s side if he manages to elevate his game and lead the Knicks deep into the playoffs, just know this: we’ll be the only ones doing so.
Okay, finished? Let’s go over it, briefly.
Lin wanted nothing more than to play a team-oriented game, remain with the Knicks forever, and incorporate Anthony into the offense.
Anthony hated the attention Lin got, refused to be part of Lin’s offense, and ultimately got himself the team he wanted, all to himself.
If this isn’t true- and it is very difficult to ascertain this fully, of course- it is the perception, only reinforced by this week’s big stories.
Now, it so happens that Lin is still struggling to get back to full strength following his knee injury. If Lin doesn’t return to full strength, and struggles in Houston, then the parallel tracks all Knicks fans will operate on will quickly disappear.
But a healthy Lin will be everybody else’s favorite; Knicks fans, I predict, will have trouble rooting against him, too.
Now, can an Anthony-dominated offense produce for the Knicks? Sure; they were 12-5 after Lin was lost for the season and Anthony played some of the best basketball of his career. It won’t be as pretty as Linsanity, but if the Knicks win 12 of every 17 games, the fans will be quite happy, and should be.
There’s a real good chance these Anthony-led Knicks fall short of 12-5 in every 17. If they do, the league’s fans will revel in their failures. If they don’t, the league’s fans will still root against the perceived bully who forced Lin out. And as long as Lin is producing in Houston, there will be a nagging reality for everyone, Knicks fans included- however well Anthony is playing, he’d probably play better in an up-tempo offense run by Lin.
Don’t believe me? Check his production with the olympic team this summer, in an offense designed by… Mike D’Antoni.
Rarely are fans treated to this kind of Sliding Doors-type alternate realities in real time. It means that barring some injuries keeping Lin or Anthony from playing, this season will be utterly fascinating, regardless of how the Knicks do.
Just don’t expect anyone, outside of the Knicks’ faithful, to be pulling for the home team at Madison Square Garden. Those days ended the day the Knicks didn’t match Jeremy Lin’s offer sheet.