Little by little, Carmelo Anthony might be realizing he made a mistake by re-signing with the New York Knicks. It’s not just the 97-95 loss to the Orlando Magic with J.R. Smith ignoring his better teammate by trying to win the game on his own. It’s also the consecutive losses and the overall feeling that once again, this team isn’t going anywhere this season.
They’ve now lost six consecutive games, and the optimism from beating teams like the Cavaliers and Hornets has completely disappeared. They aren’t really the worst team in the East. How can they be when the Philadelphia 76ers are in existence? But the Sixers aren’t an NBA team. They’re just some pieces of scraps put together in hope of a better future. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if they go 0-82. I don’t think Sam Hinkie would mind. The Knicks weren’t put together to do this bad.
The Orlando Magic are also one of those teams that’s going through a phase. Not as bad as the Sixers, but the expectations aren’t that high. It’s mostly about making a young and talented core gel together, and hopefully get a playoff team out of it in a year or two. At 3-6, things are pretty much going according to plan, and things are going to be even better when Victor Oladipo comes back from his injury.
I’m not sure why Anthony thought that re-signing on a team that was bad last season and had no chance of improving in the offseason was going to look different. Phil Jackson on top of the pyramid doesn’t make that much of a difference, not right now. The Knicks made moves that also don’t free up too much money in 2015. Who knows, maybe Derek Fisher is a coaching phenom that will turn out to be a successful choice. For now? He’s not making a better team out of this group of individuals, actually looking worse than they did last year. In Fisher’s defense, Jason Kidd looked like the wrong stuff last season with the Nets until things got turned around.
Evan Fournier scored 28 points and was helped by Nikola Vucevic with 20 and 13 rebounds as the Magic walked away from the Garden with the win. It came down to the Knicks having one last shot with 3.5 seconds left on the clock. Prigioni inbounded the ball, J.R. Smith picked it up. No screens were set. Anthony moved to get himself a shot, but Smith wasn’t even looking. By the way his shot went well wide of the hoop, he probably wasn’t looking at the basket either.
Anthony was frustrated by not getting the last shot. He scored 27 points on 10-of-17 the field. But his scoring this season is down by five points per game compared to 2013-2014. His team’s defense is even worse, and the Knicks are losing by 8.7 points per 100 possessions compared to 5.7 last year. It’s just the beginning, but this isn’t exactly a new team. With all of the excitement of him staying in the Big Apple and the change Phil Jackson might bring, things have actually gotten worse.