Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim is a very opinionated man, and whenever given the opportunity to speak his mind about a topic -- whether its conference realignment, Rick Pitino's Kentucky Derby horse or gun control --he will do just that and possibly more.
On Tuesday, less than a day after the New York Knicks were eliminated in the second round of the NBA Playoffs by the Indiana Pacers -- which, of course, led to Carmelo Anthony getting his cliched backlash -- Syracuse.com interviewed Boeheim, as did ESPN's Mike & Mike In The Morning, to talk about 'Melo and the Knicks -- a topic he has, in the past, gotten heated about. And boy, did he delivery some fantastic material.
Via Syracuse.com's Chris Carlson, who asked if he believes Carmelo can win a championship with the Knicks.
"Not on that team," Boeheim said. "He did what he can do. He played very well the final game. Everybody's killing him but Tyson Chandler just didn't try to catch the ball. He threw him the ball and Tyson Chandler went like this (Boeheim dodged in a chair in his office in the Carmelo K. Anthony Center). He was wide open. He should have been looking for the ball right here. Kenyon Martin should have been looking for the ball. They both went like this (Boeheim dodged again). Carmelo gets turnovers and the announcers aren't smart enough to even think, 'Well, the guy should try to catch the ball.' "
Carlson asks Boeheim about J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton.
"Those guys weren't great players where they were and now they're asking them to be second and third options," Boeheim said. "In Miami the second and third options are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Your fourth option is Ray Allen, who is still in good shape. Your fifth option is Shane Battier, who is still a good player. The New York Knicks have who?"
What about Tyson Chandler?
"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."
Here's a snippet of what he said on Mike & Mike this morning.
"I think he has proven he can be the star player," Boeheim said when asked could 'Melo win a championship seemingly by himself. "But no, he cannot do it by himself. And by the way, neither has anyone else ever won it without (help). Lebron, Dwyane Wade -- Dwyane Wade is one of the best player in the history of the league -- Michael Jordan -- won six with Scottie Pippen, who I believe is one of the best players in the history of the league -- and Kobe won with Shaq."
"Do the Knicks right now have a great player with Carmelo? I am not going to answer that, I am just going to say that" Boeheim said. "I believe he is good enough to win a NBA Championship, but I think he needs another guy with him. Hopefully, one day he will get the opportunity to get that kind of guy."
(Haha, Jim. You just answered the question.)
Anyway, Boeheim's answers are getting some play on other airwaves and some backlash from other media members like New York Post writer Zach Braziller.
Here's my question on Boeheim ripping Knicks: when did he become Coach K? They don't exactly maximize their talent in Syracuse either.— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) May 21, 2013
Point is one title with all the talent he's collected up there he shouldn't be ripping #knicks— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) May 21, 2013
Here's some feedback from Grantland's Zach Lowe.
How reliable/meaningful of a source is Jim Boeheim for NBA analysis, and, specifically, Cuse-related NBA analysis?— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 21, 2013
Meanwhile, CBS' Gary Parrish is loving this, well, parts of it.
Now let me state right here that I didn't watch the Knicks enough this season to know whether Boeheim is right or wrong, although I think the idea that Anthony's supporting cast is questionable at best probably makes some sense, if that's the point Boeheim was trying to make.
With King James in Miami, Derrick Rose coming back to the Bulls (presumably, at some point) and the Pacers probably maturing from year to year, I agree, for the most part, that it "doesn't look good" for the Knicks as currently constructed. Either way, I don't really care. I just like the idea that in a culture where most high-major coaches are guarded with their words and far too politically correct that there's still somebody willing to talk off the cuff and passionately ... and in late May, which is also hilarious.
Sometimes, obviously, that's going to work against Boeheim.
He's not always right.
But I'm perfectly willing to take the misguided rants so long as I can also get the rants in general, and isn't college basketball going to be a little less interesting when Boeheim finally retires? (Especially since we'll then no longer be able to ask Boeheim when he's going to retire, which is typically a trigger for another classic rant. But I digress.)
Honestly, I understand why people are irked, but I'll 100-percent agree with Parrish on this one key point.
Boeheim was asked a question about a topic he feels passionate about and he gave his honest opinion -- wrong or right -- and, yet, it upsets you? (The media. Not Smith, Felton, Chandler or Mike Woodson.)
This is the one thing about the media that drives me insane. All the time we -- I'll lump TNIAAM in this for a second -- complain about athletes and coaches being boring. It is the same answers to the same stupid questions and nothing, usually, comes out of a press conference or locker room interview.
UNLESS, you're dealing with James Arthur Boeheim! Then it is real, opinionated and he doesn't care if you agree or not. Yet, because of this -- and a few other things -- media members and other fans dislike him for it.
Sure, disagree with his opinions, but at least respect him for having the balls to give a honest one.
Plus, lets not forget that Boeheim is a basketball savant that watches so much of it he is easily qualified to have an opinion on it.
Just because its about Carmelo, and he might be a bit bias, doesn't mean its not credible or a good one.
Suppose he was asked about Lebron James and his ranking among the greatest NBA players of all-time. Would he be smashed for giving his opinion on the NBA when he's a college coach? Probably. Yet, Boeheim knows more about the NBA than 90-percent of the writers that cover it.
How do I know this? Because he has coached most of these star players and HE WATCHES A BILLION HOURS OF BASKETBALL, just like many NBA experts, which are now ripping him, do.
Did Boeheim go a bit far in ripping the Knicks? Probably. However, it is not a ignorant opinion, so stop slamming him for having it. Instead, write a column pointing out the flaws in his opinion. But, I'll wish you best of luck, because he's probably more right than wrong, like most of his opinions.