The easy answer is yes. In the past five to ten years, we've witness the NBA revert back to its roots of a star-driven league that helped propel it to world sports dominance in the 80s and early 90s. You know, the kind of mentality that drove LeBron to join two other superstars in Miami this past offseason. But we shouldn't just vilify him or the Heat; the Celtics needed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to bring a championship to Boston, the Lakers brought in Pau Gasol to help Kobe back to the promised land, and even the Heat's championship season was spurred on by a Shaq / Wade combo. So yes, because the Knicks now have two legitimate scoring threats and a future hall of fame point guard, they are most definitely better. I would warn New York basketball fans of this one thing however: The me-first 80s generation is also responsible for producing Isiah Thomas.
Let's start with the good news. Carmelo was all that and a bag of chips in his New York Knickerbocker debut. With barely a practice, he lead them, yes, LEAD the entire team, in scoring 27 points and produced a double double with 10 boards. Oh yeah, and Chauncey Billups had 21, 8 rebounds and 12 free throws in just 33 minutes. What!? Granted, it was the Bucks, but Knicks fans have to like what they see.
For the first time in the decade that I have called Brooklyn home, the Knicks will be relevant in the playoffs. And yes, like the Heat, they will fall short this year because they don't have the depth or size to compete with Boston or the Lakers, but it's easy to see why the sky is brighter in New York after so many years of paying for Isiah Thomas' blunders. Hell, they were even able to move Eddie Curry and his contract in the trade. That fact alone will almost make you forget it took four of the team's top six scorers, three of which were former No. 1 picks, and your next top draft choice to land Anthony.
Now, you take the Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, Heat, and throw the Bulls into the mix, and you start to realize LeBron's throwback dreams are becoming a reality. We're all talking about the five major markets and somewhere David Stern is orgasmically throwing another stack of Benjamin's on the fireplace. It really is reminiscent of the 80s and early 90s, only one dynasty is missing. The Pistons.
Isiah Thomas is the ultimate “on the outside looking in” character in the NBA. Even his championship seasons were filled with “chip on his shoulder” moments, and he's brought that attitude with him through the ranks of the Knicks organization. But while we all assumed his ultimate demise was creating a nightmare of a team that only Donnie Walsh could make sense of, it turns out it was the sexual harassment suit all along. Because if this Carmelo trade is any indication, his voice is still being heard loud in clear in the ear of James Dolan.
What we witnessed last night is a sign that no matter how messed up things may become in the office with Isiah still chirping around the owner, a good product on the floor will take care of all that ills the Knicks. Which is why their biggest signing will be making sure Donnie Walsh doesn't leave midway through rebuilding the team. For all the destruction Isiah's done bringing people into MSG, it may be the one he forces out that will be his signature super villain move. Until then, let's just sit back and enjoy a team that is worthy of playing the role of hero in this story.