2:33 pm Sep. 21, 2012
Walt Frazier, dressed in his signature style, spoke to the New York Times on Wednesday, and offered his thoughts on the state of the team.
“They have to look at Miami and what LeBron James was able to do," Frazier said of the Knicks. "Carmelo especially because James became the consummate player—defense, passing and whatever else it took for that team to get a championship.”
So Frazier's prescription for the Knicks to ascend to championship contender status is for Carmelo Anthony to become a LeBron James-level player. The only problem with this is how unfair asking Anthony, or anyone, to play like James is right now.
As measured by Player Efficiency Rating, LeBron James checked in at 30.7 last season, which is the tenth-highest P.E.R. in N.B.A. history. Who are the nine player seasons ahead of James, you might ask? Well, there are four by Michael Jordan, three by Wilt Chamberlain, and two by ... LeBron James.
So that's the task for Anthony, whose career-best P.E.R. of 22.2 back in 2009-10 isn't close to the top 100 N.B.A. seasons of all time, let alone James' peak, and whose 2011-12 P.E.R. of 21.1 was somewhat below that.
He'd better hurry, too.
“I think their window is a two-year window right now,” he said of the Knicks’ chances at a championship. “They have to capitalize right away.”
In truth, an awful lot would have to go right for the Knicks to contend: a return to star form by Amar'e Stoudemire, good health for Tyson Chandler, a renaissance season by Raymond Felton, the last-gasp peak contributions from aging former stars like Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd, and even J.R. Smith finally harnessing his considerable talent into the kind of season he's never given an N.B.A. team.
Or Carmelo Anthony could just become LeBron James. Walt Frazier is right; that could work, too.