The Denver Nuggets have adapted well to life without Carmelo Anthony.
They are 28-12 since the trade and off to a 10-5 start this season. They have the fouth-best offense in the league based on offensive efficiency.
The Knicks? Not so much. They are 20-22 since the deal and struggling at 6-8 so far this season. Their offense is stuck in the mud, ranked 23rd in the league based on points per 100 possessions.
Mike D'Antoni was asked about the vast difference in each team's record since the trade.
"I think it's an awkward contrast just because we're still filling up holes behind that trade," the coach said, agreeing with a reporter's description of the trade. "…. I think the franchise is very rich with talent, very good; it's very solid. I'm really happy with the direction it's going. We don't want [the current struggles] to happen. We'll come out of this funk and we'll start turning it around and we'll play well. And we got some really good players and I think that's what you've kind of got to look at."
Denver comes to town for the first time since the trade on Saturday.
In the trade, the Knicks sent Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov to the Nuggets. They also dealt Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota.
New York acquired Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams from Denver. The also received Corey Brewer from the Timberwolves.
Neither team, of course, kept all of those pieces.
The Knicks got rid of Billups through the amnesty clause to create the cap space needed to acquire Tyson Chandler. Carter, Williams and Brewer are gone. Balkman is still on the roster in a reserve role.
For Denver, Chandler is playing in China and Felton was dealt to Portland in a transaction that netted Andre Miller.
The Knicks have struggled to fill the hole at point guard since they let go of Billups, which is evident in their poor assist ratio [they ranked 23rd in assist ratio entering play on Friday].
The Ty Lawson-led Nuggets, on the other hand, lead the NBA in assist ratio, which measures the percentage of possessions that end in an assist.
Amare Stoudemire was asked about the Knicks' poor performance since the trade, in comparison to Denver's. He didn't seem to alarmed; he believes the Knicks will improve with time.
"We'll continue to get better," he said. "It's just a matter of us implementing our will and implementing that offensive strategy. And once we do that we'll become a much better team. Right now, defense is ahead of our offense."
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