We are now 16 games deep into the Melo Era and my scorecard reads 7-9. That's .438 basketball folks. Hardly worthy of the hyperbolic hoo-ha we were force fed by the Garden machine. Now don't get me wrong I was for the Carmelo trade. I believed (and still believe) that having two stud assets like Stat and Melo flowing synchronically in their prime years was the Knicks' best chance at glory. Moreover, I'm the patient sort, more than willing to let these ballers adjust their unique bent to the manic rush of the D'Antoni system. Where my patience does wane however is at the lusty cash grab being orchestrated by Garden boss "Big" Jimmy Dolan.
Now, normally I'd refrain from criticizing a fellow Irishman this close to St. Paddy's Day (even one as grievous as himself). But jeez Jimbo, a 50% increase in ticket prices! The Knicks were already the most overpriced ticket in entertainment. (and I say that as a lifelong fan) Now we're just in silly town! Look Jimbo, I know you have to pay for that "glorious" $800 million dollar renovation to MSG somehow. But picking the pockets of your long suffering but intensely loyal fan base? Well, that's just unconscionable.
Last night we fell to the championship caliber Boston Celtics. No harm there except for the fact it was our sixth loss in seven games. (1-6 in our last 7 games, that's not just bad, that's Isiah Thomas bad). What's more galling is that four of those six losses were to losing teams. (Detroit .357, Milwaukee .406, Indiana .437 twice...TWICE!!). That's right we are not just losing, we are losing to shit teams with devoted consistency. Ordinarily I'd say I was embarrassed but after the last decade I'm numbed to such emotive postures.
Madison Square Garden's publicly traded stock (MSG) was initially boosted by the Carmelo trade, rising some 10% in the giddy days that followed. However, as you can see by the chart below the stock quickly fell back to Earth. What caused this sharp redaction to the mean? Was it the Knicks' mediocre play? Or the swift and negative reaction to Dolan's cash grab? Or perhaps institutional investors just balked at backing a multi-billion dollar corporation fronted by an enigmatic 26-year old named "Melo."
Furthermore, the Knicks have a roster completely lacking in size and toughness in the middle. (They are either using Ronny Turiaf, a back-up power forward or Sheldon Williams, a third-string power forward as starting center) They are soft defensively, allowing 105.5 points per game, good for 3rd in the league. They have absolutely no chemistry. None! This I blame on Carmelo, who has deferred to neither Stoudemire's leadership nor D'Antoni's coaching system. Right now they are truly an unwatchable mess.
If Dolan wants to bleed his fanbase dry to pay for his shiny new luxury boxes the least he could do is wait to see if Carmelo actually makes the Knicks any better.