When Stat came to New York, the Knicks instantly got better but they weren't a playoff caliber team and many sports writers point that out when talking about how great Melo is. Although Melo is a great championship caliber piece for offense in the Knicks, the biggest upgrade was Shumpert and Tyson Chandler and no one talks about those guys as much. Everyone forgets DEFENSE wins championships. Melo didn't single handedly make this team better. The year when Melo came to NY, A LOT of changes were made. We got Shump and Tyson Chandler that 2011-2012 season which improved our defense a lot. IMO those other two pieces were bigger than getting Melo because we already had STAT and Felton as offensive pieces. It turns out getting Melo was vital because STAT would be injured most of the time here but if STAT wasn't injured, and along with Raymond Felton, the Knicks would still have been one of the top teams in the NBA with the defensive pieces put into place. The only reason it wouldn't be a championship caliber team would be because of teams that have 2-3 all stars like Heat, Celtics, Spurs, Thunder. The only way we would be able to contend, now that we were instantly better defensively (because of Tyson Chandler and Shump), would be if we had consistent scoring which would mean an All-star scorer and a competent PG. We had STAT and Melo which means we had the scoring available but no PG to distribute and organize the offensive plays (we lost Felton in the Melo trade). A lot of emphasis is put on Melo for making this team better and rightly so because he put the team on his back and takes the blame along with the accolades but Stat is an awesome leader too and hes able to shoulder the same pressure Melo does, the biggest difference is Melo is able to stay healthy. But honestly Melo alone can't win the championship, I'm not putting him down but he wasn't able to do it alone in Denver. Simply put, its DEFENSE that wins championships and the biggest upgrade we had wasn't Melo since we already had STAT and Felton before for scoring, the biggest upgrade was actually Tyson Chandler for interior defense and Iman Shumpert for his all around defense. IMO we still wouldn't be able to beat the Heat without Melo though and that's where he's so important to the team. He's the factor that allows us match head to head against a top tier team like the Heat. However, we also need Amare. We need him to be back 100% because we need more interior presence for rebounding and points in the paint. Without any ONE of these guys we won't be able to contend against the heat in a playoff series. So when I hear people who say Stat isn't needed, I really do wonder if they think we could beat the Heat without STAT. Even offensively, Melo alone can't do it. Lebron can't even do it alone. As good as the Heat are, I believe the Knicks are a more balanced team. The only reason I see the Heat being a better team is because the main players (starters) have played together enough to gel. Our "starters" Melo, Stat, Felton, Shump, and Tyson hasn't been able play together enough to gel because of STAT'S injuries which is why Stat is a much better option to come off the bench at this point in time because they haven't figured how they would flow offensively and defensively together.