1.) How do you think Nuggets fans should react to Carmelo Anthony upon his return to Pepsi Center? What if the roles were reversed -- how do fans at the Garden treat former players who wanted out?
Seth: I guess you guys would know "should" better than I would, but I figure he gave the Nuggets some great years and will get at least a semi-ovation, right? I really don't know. And to be honest, I have no recollection of a former player who wanted out returning to the Garden. Not since Patrick Ewing have the Knicks parted with a player as significant as Melo was to the Nuggets. (If I remember correctly, Stephon Marbury never made a return to New York when he was with the Celtics).
2.) It's odd seeing so many ex-Nuggets in New York. Is it odd having them all on the Knicks? How about Kenyon Martin?
Seth: It is pretty weird, but I guess it makes sense, since Mark Warkentien's one of the guys making decisions for this team. He's essentially rebuilding those mid-'00s Denver teams here in New York. Kenyon Martin's presence is definitely odd, but more because he was part of those dominant Nets teams we hated so much. We got over our hatred of Jason Kidd, though, and Kenyon's already endearing himself to fans with some feisty defense and hard fouls and stuff.
3.) What are your thoughts on J.R. Smith? He was a tantalizing talent in Denver, but a guy who just could never put it together. Has that changed at all?
Seth: I love the guy. He hasn't changed THAT much as a player-- there are still plenty of bad shots and generally silly decisions from "Bad J.R."-- but I think he's happy in New York and thus skews a little more toward "Good J.R.". For better or worse, he's one of the most capable scorers on the team, and unlike some other gunners, he can distribute pretty well out of the pick-and-roll, defend his position, and rebound some.
4.) What do you think of Amar'e Stoudemire? I toyed with the idea of an Andre Iguodala for Amar'e swap earlier in the season, was I insane? Would Iguodala be a good fit in New York? (Note: I like Iguodala and I'm glad he's on this team)
I love Amar'e as well and have deep respect for the willpower he's shown in rehabilitating from all these injuries and adapting his game to suit his failing legs. He was playing some beautiful basketball before this most recent surgery. Regarding Iguodala: I have a very poor sense for these things, but I imagine the Knicks would have sprung for that trade in seconds. Stoudemire's contract is onerous enough that pretty much no amount of production would make it worthwhile. The Knicks could definitely use a small forward who can defend multiple positions and create offense, especially with Melo at the four.
5.) What's the vibe in New York about this Knicks team? What's their ceiling?
This season has been unfamiliar territory (at least relative to the last decade) and has taken a pretty weird arc. To open the year, they looked like a definite Heat challenger and likely Conference Finals candidate. Now ... I'm not sure. The vibe I get is that of a group that carries itself like a contending team, but might not necessarily embody it. They get up for games against great teams and kinda sleep through the rest. The offense is very reliant on the three-pointer and the defense can be AWESOME but very rarely is. Their ceiling? I mean, less qualified teams have made it to the Finals. One never knows. My actual expectation, however, lies somewhere in between a first-round sweep and a championship. They're going to the playoffs. Beyond that I have no idea what to expect.
6.) Anything else you'd like to add?
You guys have seen this right? Tell me you guys have seen this. I still love that man. Wilson, too.
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Again, big thanks to Seth from Posting and Toasting for answering my questions.
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