It’s that time of the week again. Time to dive into the mailbag and answer your questions. One on Carmelo Anthony, one on Deron Williams, one on Fantasy Baseball, and one on Bartolo Colon.

Melo Knockin' Down The Game Clincher

Rob Asks:

Do you think the Knicks gave up too much when they traded for Carmelo?

Definitely one of the most debated questions. I look at it this way. In the NBA, teams need at least two superstars if they want to win the title. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at the last ten NBA Champions and their main players..

Year Team Star 1 Star 2 Star 3
2009-10 Lakers K. Bryant P. Gasol R. Artest
2008-09 Lakers K. Bryant P. Gasol A. Bynum
2007-08 Celtics P. Pierce K. Garnett R. Allen
2006-07 Spurs T. Duncan T. Parker M. Ginobili
2005-06 Heat D. Wade S. O’Neal
2004-05 Spurs T. Duncan T. Parker M. Ginobili
2003-04 Pistons C. Billups R. Wallace R. Hamilton
2002-03 Spurs T. Duncan T. Parker
2001-02 Lakers K. Bryant S. O’Neal
2000-01 Lakers K. Bryant S. O’Neal

Just from looking at this table, it’s clear that these teams had at least two studs and a very strong supporting cast. One could argue that the 2003-04 Pistons really didn’t have a true superstar, but they were so good defensively that they held their opponents to 84.3 points per game. They were only averaging 90.4 PPG, but when you have Billups, Hamilton, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace locking down defensively, you have a championship caliber squad. If anything, I could argue that this team was one of the truest forms of a championship ‘team’.

Back to the Knicks. It’s clear that the Amare StoudemireRay Felton combo wasn’t going to be hoisting up the trophy at the end of the year. The team was only two games above .500 before the All-Star Game and was slotted as a sixth seed in the East. History shows us that teams that land superstars via a trade tend win these deals (Think Shaq to Lakers, Ray Allen to Boston).

Given the CBA uncertainty after the season, landing Carmelo now was imperative. Reports even suggested that Carmelo wanted to lock in the guaranteed three-year, $65 million extension, regardless of the team. If the Knicks didn’t pony up the players that the Nuggets wanted, Carmelo would be debuting for the Nets tonight.

Let’s not forget Mr. Big Shot Chauncey Billups either. Billups is a true professional and will thrive in the Garden. He has a ton of playoff experience and knows what it takes to win.

Ultimately, I don’t think the Knicks will win the Finals this year, but give this team another year or two to add more size. The Knicks had to make this deal for the fans and the future of the franchise. Look at it this way: when’s the last time the Knicks had two bonafide studs?

Also, how many Knick fans were thinking about Mozgov, Chandler, etc. during the most watched Knick game in the last 16 years? Exactly.

Ben Asks:

Deron Williams doesn’t seem happy to a member of the Nets. With two years remaining on his contract, what are the odds that the Nets will be able to retain him as they make the move to Brooklyn?

The Nets definitely took a huge gamble by acquiring Williams. They traded away an above average point guard in Devin Harris, a very raw lottery pick forward in Derrick Favors, and two first round picks. If Williams enjoys playing in Newark for two seasons and can get a free agent or two (think David West) to join him this off-season, the Nets will have a solid foundation in place. Williams is enjoying a career year so far, averaging 21.3 PPG and 9.7 APG.

If Williams decides that he hates playing for the Nets and leaves in two years, then this is a horrible deal for the Nets. Williams has publicly stated that part of the drawback to playing in Utah was the inability to lure top free agents. We’ve already seen the Nets strike out last summer and get rejected by Carmelo in multiple instances. The new CBA will shed some more light on this situation, but it’s imperative for the Nets to sign Williams to a long-term contract in the coming years.

Scott Asks:

With Adam Wainwright suffering a season ending injury, how do you rank the top starting pitchers in fantasy baseball?

Finally, a fantasy baseball question. First, losing Wainwright is a huge blow to the Cardinals. The Cardinals playoff odds have went from 48% to 27% after the injury. Over the last two years, Wainwright has finished in the Top 3 in NL Cy Young voting. It hurts the Cardinals even more in their dealings with future free agent, Albert Pujols. The Cardinals go from being a favorite in the NL Central to a secondary team behind the Reds and Brewers.

Back to fantasy. As of right now, here’s my Top 10 fantasy arms for 2011:

1. Roy Halladay, PHI
2. Tim Lincecum, SF
3. Felix Hernandez, SEA
4. Cliff Lee, PHI
5. CC Sabathia, NYY
6. Jon Lester, BOS
7. Clayton Kershaw, LAD
8. Tommy Hanson, ATL
9. Justin Verlander, DET
10. Chris Carpenter, STL

If Wainwright was healthy, I’d slot him 7th.

Peter Asks:

What can we expect out of Bartolo Colon this season?

He has to make the team out of Spring Training, is actually starting the first ST game today, and I’ve read that he has some life on his fastball. However, I’ll just end the mailbag with this picture and let you figure out the rest…