- David Thorpe, ESPN Staff Writer
A few summers ago, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh discussed among themselves how much fun it would be to play together and how successful they could be if they joined forces. Thus, the new Miami Heat were born.
As recently as two weeks ago, Carmelo Anthony (who forced his way off the Denver Nuggets and onto the New York Knicks last season) was stumping for New Orleans point guard and close friend Chris Paul to join him and Amare Stoudemire in the Big Apple, forming their own version of the big three.
"If it works out and he comes here and they allow him to come here, you'll see a smile from ear to ear," Anthony said. "It's not just me. It's everybody in New York."
There are several factors (most of them money-related) that could stand in the way of Paul landing in New York, but for this exercise, we decided to jump ahead and focus on what the on-court impact would be if Paul did join the Knicks. Here's what a CP3-Melo-Stat trio would look like:
This might come as a surprise, but adding Paul to the Knicks' starting lineup will have a more dramatic effect on their defense than their offense. Most importantly, it's on the defensive end that New York needs the most help. The Knicks ranked in the league's bottom eight in team defense last season.
Certainly, Stoudemire and Anthony have never been known as staunch defenders, but the decline of an aging Chauncey Billups as a defender hampered the pair's ability to get into proper defensive position. Both Stoudemire and Anthony need a point guard who can create turnovers and help spearhead good starting position on every defensive possession. Someone such as Paul also can inhibit opposing point guards from playing 5 on 4 after using a good breakdown dribble-drive move.
8hMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon
14hBaxter Holmes and Larry Coon
13hIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer