I talked to Carmelo Anthony while he was pitching a new liquid chalk product the other day. Of course, the topic quickly got off the liquid chalk and onto basketball.
Melo has been on a bit of a media blitz lately, and defense has been a huge part of it. And you can tell by how he answers my question that he's sick of being asked about it.
Let's face it, Carmelo Anthony isn't known as a lockdown guy (I'm being nice). But it's obvious that if the Knicks want to challenge in the East, they're going to have to become better defensively. So I asked Melo if the Knicks, who have a stated goal of being better defensively, took anything from facing a great defensive team like the Celtics in the playoffs.
Part of his answer was a bit surprising:
"We have a team that can be a great defensive team… and I'll lead that charge"
If you say so, Melo.
The bottom line is that even if the Celtics are closing in on the end of their dominance in the division, the Knicks aren't going to be in a position to take that spot unless they start playing some D. And even IF Melo leads that charge, he's going to have to find a way to bring Amar'e Stoudemire with him.
They've both talked a good game this very extended offseason. Let's see if they have what it takes to back it up and present a real challenge to the Celtics.