Jim Boeheim is still a fan of Carmelo Anthony, but the Syracuse head coach isn't exactly too fond of Anthony's teammates or surprised that the New York Knicks didn't get very far in the NBA Playoffs despite his former star at the helm.
Whether of his own accord, Mike Woodson's game plan or the Indiana Pacers' stifling defense, Anthony ended up with the ball over and over and over and over again in the Knicks' six-game Eastern Conference Semifinals defeat. Sometimes it worked to the tune of 39 points in the decisive Game 6. Sometimes it didn't -- Anthony scored 54 points on 53 shots the two games beforehand. All things told, Melo averaged 28.8 points per game, over twice as much as the next-closest player on the team, but he needed a playoffs-high 25.8 shot attempts per game to do so.
In Boeheim's eyes, the fault rests not with the guy who got him the 2003 NCAA Championship, but rather the rest of the team. He eviscerated nearly every other player in orange and blue Monday to Chris Carlson of Syracuse.com:
"Tyson Chandler claims he never gets the ball. He doesn't try to get the ball," said Boeheim, who coached Chandler when he was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team. "He had two points and Hibbert had (21). What was the difference in the series? Raymond Felton was 0-for-7. Lance Stephenson had (25) points. They're going to blame it on Carmelo? I told him when he went to New York, they're going to blame it on you."
He went on to criticize point guard Pablo Prigioni ("never scored against [the U.S. national team") and Kenyon Martin ("should have been looking for the ball"), said the team was never going to win with their current roster construction ("The New York Knicks have who?") and that too much was asked of Anthony ("He's going to have to get 50 for them to win") before sealing the deal by saying that Anthony's chances weren't much better next year ("They're not going to get better. They need two more options.")
Boeheim isn't altogether wrong. As Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting pointed out in two must-read pieces for Knicks fans, this year's squad was successful mainly by chance in the face of a weirdly constructed roster and that roster is set for a confusing and difficult-to-manage summer.
But valiantly as much as Boeheim tries to shirk the weight from his pupil's shoulders, Anthony is the rock of the Knicks, and with his best shot, the team is left waiting for next year.