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Walt Frazier says Knicks need ‘Melo to play like LeBron

Sep 20, 2012, 11:53 AM EDT

New Jersey Nets v New York Knicks Getty Images

The Knicks are going to be one of the more interesting stories in the NBA this season, and not just because they are in New York.

As our own Matt Moore previewed, they have talent and they are going to be good, but the question remains about how well all the puzzle pieces fit together. Specifically, can Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire learn to play well together (throw Tyson Chandler in there, too, with those three on the floor the Knicks offense was terrible last year, around 95 points per 100 possessions).

Knicks legend and television color commentator Walt Frazier (who watched sightseeing Gray Line New York’s Ride of Fame unveil a signature double-decker tour bus featuring a custom Frazier decal on the front) spoke to the New York Times and sad that the Knicks and Mike Woodson need to figure out this puzzle fast (hat tip to SLAM).

“I think their window is a two-year window right now,” he said of the Knicks’ chances at a championship. “They have to capitalize right away…

“They better forget last year and do whatever it takes,” Frazier said of Anthony and Stoudemire. “They have to look at Miami and what LeBron James was able to do, Carmelo especially because James became the consummate player — defense, passing and whatever else it took for that team to get a championship.”

I’m not sure that works, only because Anthony and LeBron are different kinds of players with different games. Anthony is a pure scorer, one who can do some other things but that is not what he does best. To ask him to play more like James is to take him away from his strengths and push him toward his weaknesses.

To me, they need to continue to use ‘Melo as a key offensive focal point, but he (and Mike Woodson) need to allow the offense to diversify more. For example, in the Mike D’Antoni era Raymond Felton and Stoudemire had some good pick-and-roll chemistry, run that play. If it works, run it a lot. Maybe it marginalizes Anthony for a night, but he needs to accept that in the name of winning.

Which is more thinking like LeBron — he put up monster, MVP numbers last year but did it in the flow of what the Heat were trying to do on offense. Carmelo needs to do that — not play like LeBron, but think like him.

We’ll see. It’s going to be an interesting season in New York.

  1. eventhorizon04 - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Melo has always been a good scorer.
    He showed late last year that when motivated he can be a solid defender.

    What the Knicks need is for Melo to focus on scoring efficiently, playing good defense against forwards, and being willing to defer to run the offense at times through other plays (ex. Felton-Stoudamire pick and rolls).

    While Melo becoming a versatile defender and facilitator on offense like LeBron wouldn’t hurt, the team has true point guards in Felton and Kidd and excellent defensive anchors like Tyson Chandler (reigning Defensive Player of the Year) and Marcus Camby (former DPOTY), so really, Melo providing just efficient scoring and defense would make the Knicks a very good team.

    • livingsacrifice86 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      Very good points. Melo can fill it up like few others in the league on any given night and him just focusing a bit more on defense would be greatly beneficial for the Knicks. It will be interesting to see what the Knicks can do and if they can stay healthy. They have pretty solid perimeter and post defenders, so the tools are there to be a great defensive team. This season will be interesting to watch. Can’t wait

      • badintent - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:58 AM


  2. soflasfinest - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Well, thats easier said than done!

  3. fotydaze - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    When motivated he can be a good defender? 20 mil a yr.isn’t motivation? A tittle isn’t motivation? The concept of team first is gone in the nba it’s all about get mine!!!!

    • sun602 - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      I want a TITtle.

    • boppinbob47 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Blame that on his prior coaches who did not demand that he play defense. Once Woodson took over he let Melo know that if he didn’t play “D” his playing time would decline. The result was not surprising, Melo played “D” pretty well. He will not be a stopper, but he can contribute a lot in team defense.If Melo can improve his scoring efficency by iroving his shot selection and play solid team defense for a whole season he has a shot at the MVP award and the Knicks will go deep into the play-offs,good things could happen then, look at Dallas.

  4. nokoolaidcowboy - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Carmelo is too much a punk.

    Just play ball man.

  5. thebigcaptain2011 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Good luck with that one.

  6. miamatt - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Three words: Not gonna happen.

    • saint1997 - Sep 20, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      gonna is not a word

  7. sun602 - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Every team needs someone who plays like Lebron…

  8. mjay424 - Sep 20, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Not a Knicks fan but follow the Nuggets so I can tell you that the two areas that Carmelo disappointed are rebounding and attitude.

    He’s a wonderful talent and fun to watch when he can’t be stopped offensively but he is a very good rebounder for a small forward – when he wants to be, which isn’t often. He could easily average 8-9 boards a season. It’s laziness and a lack of consistent effort that he doesn’t.

    The defense, yes, he could be better. He could be a better passer, sure. But it’s the attitude of I am just here to score that bugged me the most.

    He wants to win and will work hard but that brain that the truly great ones have, that mindset, Carmelo doesn’t have it. Put Kobe’s competitiveness and commitment in Melo or even the attitude of a guy like a Ben Wallace in his prime and Melo would be one of the five-best players in the game.

  9. stephenolszewski - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I laughed so hard that I almost fell off my dinosaur

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