The only downside to all the buzz about Jeremy Lin is talk about how Carmelo Anthony is going to spoil all the fun when he returns to the line-up. But over at SI, veteran basketball writer Ian Thomsen doesn’t think that will be the case:
Carmelo Anthony is now the villain. One year ago New York couldn’t wait to trade for him, and now the city fears his return. The fear is Anthony will slow the Knicks’ offense, stop the ball and ruin everything Jeremy Lin has accomplished in the last week.
But look at this from the view of the Knicks’ opponents, who shouldn’t be focused on Anthony as saboteur. Instead, rival teams should be concerned that the breakthrough partnership of Lin and coach Mike D’Antoni — in combination with the bottom-line pressure to win in New York — is exactly what Anthony needs to elevate his career. Instead of fighting the progress of the Knicks, Anthony is likely to embrace it and become better than ever.
That’s what I think is going to happen, because I’ve seen it happen before. It happened to Paul Pierce, who seven years ago was his generation’s version of Anthony. Pierce was a terrific scorer who was viewed throughout the NBA as a sulking, self-indulgent ball-stopper with an array of teamwork skills he didn’t care to use. When Doc Rivers arrived as coach of the Celtics in 2004, he and Pierce had it out. The coach convinced Pierce to push the ball up the floor and share it with less talented teammates in faith that it would circulate back to him.
We shall see. I’m rooting for Melo, though. Better to cheer than to boo, you know?