Carmelo Anthony. Amare Stoudemire. And now Tyson Chandler. The New York Knicks have 3 of the biggest names in the league, right now. But, does that equal a championship? That is the question that has to be asked about the Knicks players. Of course, what is behind an NBA name is a reputation.
Let's take a look at the Knicks:
REPUTATION: Scoring small forward. One of the best in the league. Not a very good defender.
REPUTATION: Scoring power forward. One of the best in the league. Electrifying! Not a very good defender.
REPUTATION: Defensive center. One of the best in the league? I don't know about that. If he truly is one of the best defensive centers in the league; Dallas would have found a way to have kept him. I mean, you just don't let legitimate defensive centers go. Not in this league, you don't.
Offensive skills? If the lane is open, he's good for the alley-oop for sure. Dunks, of course, come with the package. Other than that, well, he's called a defensive center for a reason. His stay in New Orleans and Charlotte didn't work out too well, and he found himself in Dallas who already had 2 seven-footers on the roster.
What does it mean? Well, we have to take a look at a couple of other names in the mix to figure that out.
COACH MIKE D'ANTONI:
REPUTATION: Run and gun offensive system. I didn't follow the Knicks too close last season. Is the run and gun still the philosophy that coach D'Antoni applies to his teams? All I have to go on is his reputation. If he's still running and gunning that could only spell trouble in N.Y., because in the NBA, it's a proven fact that defense wins championships.
With Anthony and Stoudemire lacking in the defensive department; how, pray tell, does N.Y. compete for a championship? This brings us to the player they just amnestied:
REPUTATION: True point guard with true leadership abilities. Won a championship with Detroit. Turned the dysfunctional Denver Nuggets into contender with his on-court leadership. Excellent half-court offensive player. Understands the concept of team defense and fulfills his role in it. But, the N.Y. Knicks amnestied him? Why? Because they couldn't afford to hold on to him and pay Tyson Chandler, too.
All this to say what? That the Knicks overpaid for Chandler, and made a mistake by letting a true on-court leader, like Billups, go.
Now, if the Knicks had to cut Billups to make room for Chandler...what are they going to do with the rest of the roster? They had to get rid of Ronny Turiaf, too. Who do they sign to replace these players?
From what I understand the Knicks don't even have enough signed players to fill their roster. They have 3 big NBA names, along with their reputations, but after that, what do they have?
They have a mess with the salary cap and, I guess, a hope that some players will take less to play with the 3 big NBA names in N.Y.. But, isn't that the same position that the Heat are in, too? And the Celtics, too?
This is the perfect time for small-market teams to put balanced rosters together that will expose the holes that the N.Y's, Boston's, and Miami's have in their rosters.
What's in an NBA player's name like Tyson Chandler? I think we'll have to wait until the finals get here to see what two teams get there to know for sure.
In my 40 years of following basketball, I think I've formed an educated opinion on what it takes to win a championship. And my opinion is that the N.Y. Knicks are nowhere near being a championship caliber type team, because Tyson Chandler just isn't that good as a defensive center. But, do give Tyson Chandler his "props," because he did get his money.