Thursday, March 10, 2011

Do the Knicks need a third star?

(photo courtesy of

The New York Knicks' success since trading for Carmelo Anthony and the recent struggles of the Miami Heat beg the question: Is it smart for an NBA team to build around three stars?

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, filling a roster around three All-Star-caliber players is a legitimate strategy. Even still, it's not surprising that Miami is struggling against teams over .500, as these teams tend to be deeper than the Heat and have a surefire go-to guy to take the final shot late in games.

Give the Heat a few seasons and they will be able to build around LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh with mid-level exceptions and draft picks. The Heat team you see this season is not as good as the Heat team you will see next season or the year after that.

But with a new collective bargaining agreement on the horizon and the Knicks paying both Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire more than any of Miami's Big Three, the possibility remains that New York will not be able to afford a third star like Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard. And if they can, their supporting cast might be weaker than that of Miami's.

Right now, the Knicks are beating good teams away from home with just two stars and without an injured Chauncey Billups. Would it really be smarter for the Knicks to try and acquire a third star at the price of talented secondary players like Landry Fields, Toney Douglas and future draft picks, which the team is already lacking?

At first glance, you may think I'm overreacting to the Knicks recent winning ways and the Heat's issues of late. But in order to acquire a third star, the Knicks would have to move players like Fields and Douglas and without draft picks to fill out the roster, they would be stuck with middling players filling 5-6 spots in the rotation, much like Miami this season.

For the price of one extra star, the Knicks could fill the final three spots in their starting lineup with players worthy of starting in the NBA. My sincerest apologies go out to Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony in Miami; they simply aren't starting-caliber. And Mike Bibby is at the age where he isn't either. This is a major reason for the Heat's struggles closing out games.

As the season reaches its conclusion and becomes the playoffs, we should find out more about both the Knicks and the Heat and maybe we'll be able to come up with an answer to the question: Would the Knicks be wise to acquire a third star?

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