It would have seemed heretical and backwards to suggest that, following the Carmelo Anthony trade, the Denver Nuggets would be better than the New York Knicks. While the Nuggets did deal 'Melo for a package of real, live players instead of the New Jersey Nets' Tomorrow (And Beyond) Brigade of Derrick Favors and picks, the Knicks didn't make the deal to tread water, and New York was certainly seen as dealing from a position of power. The Nuggets, after all, only traded 'Melo because the team didn't want to lose him in free agency.
So why since the trade have the Nuggets looked so much better than the Knicks? Are the Nuggets better? Raymond Felton -- one of those players shipped to Denver -- thinks so.
Felton told Chris Tomasson of HoopsHype that he believes that the Nuggets aren't simply playing better than the Knicks, who are 6-5 since the trade.
"We're a better team (than New York), I feel like. That's it," said Felton, not elaborating.
Denver has gone 7-2 since the trade, solidifying its hold on the No. 5 seed in the volatile NBA playoff picture out West. Four of the Nuggets' opponents in those nine games are playoff teams, and three more are in contention for a postseason berth. Seven of 11 of the Knicks' opponents, meanwhile, are currently in line for playoff spots. So New York has played a tougher schedule, and the Nuggets are embarking on a brutal four-game road trip -- New Orleans, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami -- that could even the score.
Felton's claim is a bit premature, though there's certainly something to be said about George Karl's ability to mesh the newcomers with Denver's extant frontline and guard line-up, versus Mike D'Antoni's relative difficulty in getting 'Melo and Chauncey Billups to thrive with Amar'e Stoudemire and Landry Fields from Day 1.
What do you think? Are the Nuggets actually better than the Knicks?