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Knicks legend Bill Bradley wonders if Carmelo, Knicks get it

Apr 2, 2013, 4:23 PM EDT

Mike Woodson, Carmelo Anthony AP

As we near the start of this NBA playoffs, the big question about Carmelo Anthony — and by proxy the Knicks — remains the one that was asked about him last season, and the one before that, and the one before that, and…

Does he understand and is he willing to make the team play sacrifices to his game needed to lead a team to a title?

Knicks legend Bill Bradley, who was a member of the last two Knicks title teams (and went on to be a New Jersey senator) told the New York Post he wonders if ‘Melo is ready.

“Miami won last year because they played as a team,’’ Bradley said. “They were unselfish. There’s a connection there. I really do believe LeBron, [Dwyane] Wade and [Chris] Bosh and [Shane] Battier, they really want to be champions more than they want individual achievements. They realize being a champion is the highest individual achievement.’’

Has Anthony learned that yet?

“He’s a great offensive talent, no question,’’ Bradley said. “I don’t know him enough. I don’t know if he has. I hope so. And he might already know it.”

Early in the season it felt like Carmelo Anthony had learned that lesson and the Knicks were off to a hot start. But as injuries piled up that team identity seemed to come and go — it’s been back recently on an eight game winning streak.

The real test is the playoffs, of course.

“The ultimate champion is always the most unselfish team. We didn’t have any idea who would score on a particular night. At the end of the game, any one person could take the shot, and if they missed, everyone said you’ll hit it next time.’’

The ultimate champion also usually has the most talent (or close to it). Can the Knicks really match the Heat there? And in team play? We’ll find the answers starting in a few weeks.

  1. Sideline Mob - Apr 2, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Bradley has a point, but he’s not 100% accurate – there have been some pretty selfish teams to win NBA Titles in the past. What Bradley really should say is, “The Knicks don’t have enough youth and talent to succeed playing selfish ball.”

    Oh, and since when is Shane Battier part of the Big 4 in Miami? Good for Shane; he’s worked hard.

  2. rickyspanish - Apr 2, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    The answer is no, they don’t get it.

    • money2long - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      why do you say that ? kidd , chandler, prigioni, kurt thomas, felton..knicks have guys that are team players..not necessarily all guys who will propel you to 100 points..that’s why you have melo and jr smith to create. knicks have been playing well. they play together. i feel like people just never wanna give knicks credit still from all the bad years of the past and people still like to hate on carmelo cuz of this whole “hero ball” stigma. smh

  3. cbking05 - Apr 2, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    I think they all know how to get the ball…They need to learn to give it up… treat the ball like your ladies and remember “Ain’t no fun if the Homies can’t have none” !

  4. seannymo - Apr 2, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    “I don’t know him enough. I don’t know if he has. I hope so. And he might already know it.”

    Yes, Bradley is a Knick legend but he’s admittedly uneducated about the current team and it’s superstar. He clearly has not watched the team much this season…this team has played unselfishly all year and has that urgency defensively they haven’t had in years (It all stated with Chandler last year).

    I get that they ran the article today bc it’s the last meeting between MIA and NY and they are comparing the two. But this storyline has been a big one all year and is so played out. (A team needs to work together and play unselfish basketball to win a title?! You don’t say!?)

    • kingbeason52 - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Carmelo and JR are selfish players when the ball is in there hand..Amare does not want to come off the bench for the better of the team..and he busted his hand in the playoffs last year..Rasheed Wallace gets a technical every other game he is healthy enough to play in because he cant keep his mouth shut for one whole game..Outside of Tyson Chandler being a great allstar center everyone else on the team is one-dimensional..Shumpert could turn out to be really good..

      • djeter220 - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        You don’t know much about the Knicks, huh?

      • seannymo - Apr 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM

        I was wrong about my initial post…Bradley isn’t the uneducated one, you are.

      • money2long - Apr 2, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        kingbeason52’s assessment of the knicks was so bad, i had to refresh the page to make sure i was actually seeing that ridiculous comment.

  5. caeser12 - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Senator Bill Bradley served in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1997 representing the state of New Jersey.

    Just sayin’.

    • caeser12 - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      Wow. A thumbs down for setting the record straight. Tough crowd.

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    He gets it. And Coach makes sure that he and the rest of the team gets it. The current streak is no fluke. Their offensive efficiency is the best in the league during the streak, and that leads to better defense (or vice versa, whichever way you want to approach it). Even when the Knicks were faltering, Melo got all the blame, when in reality, it was shared all the way up to Woodson, who would not depart from those foolish 1 on 5 lineups (Melo being the only bona fide offensive threat), not running screens for guys like Novak, and not adjusting substitution patterns when the defense tailed off miserably with the second unit. Now the second unit is both playing much better defense, and outscoring every opponent’s bench at a 3:1 clip of late, and therefore there is no shock about their winning streak or whether they get it. They’re having fun playing basketball and excelling with wins, as well. Just as was the case for the first two months of the season, they can beat all comers as long as JR doesn’t revert. Melo hasn’t even shot well at all during this streak and it hasn’t mattered. All the secondhand, wannabe Dr. Jack Ramsays who populate this site and thumbs-down facts/wisdom and thumbs-up childish 15 year old bloviations can continue spewing what pundits who only browse box scores and don’t watch Knicks games. But those who do — non-Knicks fans who watch them regularly, included — know that the answer to the question is “YES.”

    The only question to be asked of this team is “Can they simply stay healthy (and get Stoudemire and Wallace back, who will only be plusses)?”

    Not whether they “get it” or not.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 2, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      You’re (W)right.

  7. djeter220 - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    It’s easy for Lebron to make “team play sacrifices” when he’s entrusting the ball with Wade and Bosh and his other high quality role players. But you can bet if his supporting cast was as unreliable as Carmelo’s was in stretches this season, Lebron would take over games as much as Melo has needed to at times. That being said, if JR can continue doing what he’s doing off the bench, Iman continues hitting corner threes the way he has lately, Martin continues contributing down low as well as Tyson when he returns, Melo will have no reason not to play team ball, and the Knicks will be better for it.

    • borderline1988 - Apr 2, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      You’re wrong on 2 fronts.

      The Heat have actually been getting better over the last 3 years as Lebron is more and more recognized as the go-to guy on the team, with Wade and Bosh fading into the background. The 2010/2011 Heat team struggled at times because Lebron deferred too much to those players. The Heat rarely ‘entrust’ the ball in Bosh’s hands anymore – he basically gets all of his points in the pick and pop or pick and roll plays with Lebron/Wade.

      Which leads into the second point. How many 3s has Novak or JR Smith hit from plays set up by Carmelo? How many pick and roll dunks has Chandler finished from Carmelo? If Lebron were on that team, Novak would be hitting 3 or 4 threes every night, and Chandler would be making at least 3 or 4 buckets directly from Lebron’s passes. When we talk about Lebron “making team play sacrifices”, we don’t mean that he’s giving up the ball for someone else to make a play. It means he’s keeping his head up and finding his teammates for scoring plays. The Knicks have plenty of players who can make shots – guys who would thrive with Lebron, just no one else besides Smith and Carmelo who can really create offense on his own.

      I still think Carmelo could be on a championship calibre team, but he is not a playmaker. He is a scorer, plain and simple.

  8. thomaskouns - Apr 2, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Bradley is basically reading from the Scouting reports on the Knicks.

    Just because a player is a superstar doesn’t necessarily mean they have all the attributes to win championships.

  9. dysraw1 - Apr 2, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    this is the most complete Carmelo has been since entering the league, of course he had some inconsistent times. he still spends to much time arguing calls.. he wants the treatment that a player with his credentials should get. but crys to the refs. entirely too much. but to his credit i would call this his best year as a team player. for those of you who say he doesn’t play D what do you think rebounding is.

  10. jimeejohnson - Apr 2, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    If there’s a burnt offering involved: forget it: sacrifice…get it? Whadya mean, “no”?

  11. nygrwy - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Ive been a knicks fan my whole life and I am still not sure if he gets it. However this team looks much better when he is not the sole focal point of the offense and other players are getting involved.

    I have up and down feelings about Melo. I think he is a good offensive player (not great bc he is not accurate) he has moves for days but he is not likeable. We now can thank Rasheed Wallace for the three point tap that Melo now does. Its a great idea to do something the most hated player in NBA does. Its real easy to see why he gets no calls.

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