A few days ago, I got involved in an argument over who was the 'better' pickup, Carmelo Anthony or Deron Williams? Even though the thread was dominated by New Jersey fans, I was surprised to be a minority in choosing Melo. Fortunately, tonight, Melo made a case for himself.
As Lebron James and Dwayne Wade looked up at the scoreboard minutes ago, they both eyed it disdainfully. That's because it read NY: 89 MIA: 86. There were only 7 seconds left, and it seemed painfully obvious who would get the ball; Lebron James, of course. As Dwayne Wade got looked off on a basket cut, Lebron came out to the top of the 3-point arc and squared up. Before he could shoot, a blue jersey smothered him and forced to pump fake and take a step to his left. The blue jersey followed. As Lebron bricked his game-tying attempt, Carmelo Anthony slowly strided off the court in the direction of Spike Lee. The Knicks rebounded the miss and won the game 91 to 86, sending a clear message to the Eastern Conference all star team, aka the Miami Heat.
Melo finished with 29 points (the top scorer in the game - as in - more than Amare, James, Wade, and Bosh) and had two great defensive stands on Lebron in the last 10 seconds of the game. He was the standout player and proved once again what a top level talent he can be.
This was all after Melo scored the last 10 points of the game in his Knicks debut on his was to 27 points and 10 rebounds to cap a 6 point win for New York. Yet, people still want Deron over Melo?
In his first two games with the nets, Williams is averaging 14 points and an (admittedly) impressive 14.5 assists after dropping 17 dimes on the Rockets. Still though, both of those games were losses by a combined 25 points. And if you were watching, neither of them were close. Now, I know Deron doesn't have much of anybody and Melo has Amare and Billups, but don't you think if Melo was in New Jersey those games would be a little different? I mean, the way Melo dominates a game is simply on another level than the way Deron does.
Even more, if you're going to analyze the trade as a whole, I think it is pretty plain the Knicks came out on top.
First off, the Knicks got Chauncey Billups too. I think this part of the deal was a little under-hyped. In case you don't remember, Billups went to 7 straight Eastern Conference finals and has been named MVP of two of them. Don't tell me is old either, because tonight I saw him put the dagger in the Heat with an enormously clutch three as his heels sat six inches from sideline and then seal the game with a steal. He has always been one of the best players in winning time.
Even more, Billups and Carmelo both signed contracts that are in the franchise's best interest. Deron could be gone after next season (and probably will be considering how the Nets look so far), but Melo and Billups have signed long-term contracts and will keep the Knicks good a lot longer. If thats not enough - Williams has started his career in New Jersey by blaming a wrist injury on his poor performance. He's either already being a baby or already being hurt, neither of which are good for the Nets.
By the way, did you see Melo tonight?