The Knicks’ top priority this summer, as we all know, is to re-sign Carmelo Anthony.
If they fail to do so, Phil Jackson & Co. will likely use the summer of 2015 to rebuild with a stockpile of cash to spend on free agents and a first-round draft pick.
One of their targets in 2015 could be Timberwolves forward Kevin Love.
So here’s a hypothetical for you: How would a Knicks team built around Love compare with a team built around Melo?
One writer sees Love as the better building block.
As Doolittle points out, this is a classic sports debate, and one that doesn’t have much relevance in future projections for the Knicks.
For one, losing out on Anthony this summer will be seen as a setback for many reasons, so it’s impossible to judge that development through the prism of “Love vs. Melo.”
Also, the Knicks will have plenty of competition for Love in 2015 -- with or without Melo. So the question of “who’s better” isn’t likely to be pertinent to the Knicks.
Still, on a macro level, it’s an interesting premise for Knicks fans to consider.
Here are some of the points Doolittle makes to support his argument:
Doolittle argues that Love is already a better player than Anthony based on the WARP statistic, which measures how much value a player adds when compared to a player who would replace him (generally a second-unit player). And he argues that Love, if healthy, will be a better long-term investment because he is a full four years younger than Anthony.
Over the past three seasons, Love has a 39.2 to 33.6 edge in WARP over Anthony even though he missed 64 games in 2012-13. Love's winning percentage -- the per-possession component of WARP -- was over .700 for the third time in four years. Anthony's .643 mark last season was the best he's ever done. Both are high volume players, but Love is a more efficient shooter, draws more fouls, hands out more assists and, even after accounting for position, he laps Anthony in terms of board work. Neither is a great defender, but at the bottom line, Love's Real Plus-Minus of plus-5.10 is elite, while Anthony's plus-2.73 is merely very good.
Question: Do you agree with Doolittle’s analysis? Is Love a better building block than Melo?
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.