Knicks legend Earl "The Pearl" Monroe thinks Phil Jackson did not give Carmelo Anthony the right complimentary pieces to give the star forward a chance to succeed.
"I thought this team was going to be pretty good with Derrick Rose coming in and Courtney Lee, though I'm not sure he's a starting guard,'' Monroe told Marc Berman of The Post. "But there was no chemistry, not even in the locker room. And Melo, he has done what he was brought here to do.
"Phil needed to put people around him that do what he doesn't do. That's up to management. Melo played up to his strengths and he played up to his weaknesses. He's always been that player. You need to augment him with the right other pieces."
Monroe is referencing the notion that Anthony is not known as an intense defender/playmaker/locker-room leader, and that Jackson should have never expected the veteran to be one. Monroe believed Joakim Noah would be the piece to allow Anthony's offensive skillset to truly shine.
"I thought Noah would be that guy, but he got hurt, the media got down on him, he wasn't fitting in,'' said Monroe. "He could've been the voice of the locker room and he doesn't need the ball, and he'd be all defense and hustle. It wasn't about him as a low-post presence. It was more shots to go around for everyone. That should've been good.''
It's no secret Jackson wants to shed Anthony and his large salary. But Monroe warns the Knicks president to be careful what he wishes for.
"Without Melo, you need more scoring and maybe you want to start going up and down the floor,'' Monroe said. "But if they're doing the triangle, that's a slower game and they're going to need more spot shooters. To get rid of Carmelo, what are you getting back for him at this stage? Just draft picks? That's the future - they'd need help now.''