Superstars exude a certain level of confidence and arrogance on the court. Take someone who has never seen an NBA game and they’ll be able to tell you that LeBron James is a superstar. They’ll pick Kobe Bryant out of the other nine guys. Kevin Durant stands out as special. The New York Knicks don’t have a player like that. Yeah, most people would call him a superstar, but is Carmelo Anthony the most overrated superstar in the NBA?
WHAT MAKES A SUPERSTAR?
Superstars need to have elite skills. There’s no question that Anthony is an elite scorer. He led the NBA in 2012-13 with 28.7 points per game. He averages 25 points per game for his career, which lands him No. 12 on the all-time NBA charts. That’s awfully impressive, but that’s where it ends for Melo.
Anthony has NEVER placed in the top 10 for rebounding, assists, steals, blocks or any shooting percentages. Some might argue that Anthony does enough offensively that he shouldn’t need to do anything else. The fact that Anthony has won zero championships and zero MVP awards quickly ends that argument.
A superstar needs to not only light up a scoreboard, but he needs to light up the win column for his team. He needs to make the players around him better. To his credit, Anthony does draw the lion’s share of the attention, which provides some tremendous looks for guys like J.R. Smith or Steve Novak.
Of the top-10 scorers in the NBA, Anthony had the highest usage rate (35.6), but also averaged the least assists and the least steals. Take a look for yourself:
REGULAR SEASON SUPERSTAR?
Anthony’s career regular season averages of 25.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals make him a superstar on the stat sheet. It’s no coincidence that Anthony’s teams have had a large amount of regular season success. Take a look at how Anthony’s teams have done over the last five years in regular season games that he’s played:
|Year||Team Played For||Record|
|2012-13||New York Knicks||47-20|
|2011-12||New York Knicks||29-26|
|2010-11||Denver Nuggets/NY Knicks||43-34|
A winning percentage of .645 translates to roughly 53-29. That’s not elite by any means, but it would be good for a top-four seed most years (and coincidentally, the Knicks finished 54-28 in 2012-13).
So he’s definitely in the upper echelon of NBA players during the regular season. Certainly his postseason numbers and team successes will make him a superstar, right?
PLAYOFF SUCCESS…NOT SO MUCH
Before we get into this, let’s give Anthony some more credit. In his 10 years in the NBA, he has never missed the playoffs. He’s averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game over his 66 career playoff contests. Wait … 10 season s… 66 games. Yep, somethings definitely missing here.
For some reference, James missed the playoffs in his first two years, yet has played 138 playoff games (more than double Anthony’s 66). James has played more than 10 games in each of his eight playoff years, whereas Anthony has played more than six just twice.
To be fair, nobody in today’s NBA compares to James, so let’s get back to Anthony.
Since joining the Knicks, Anthony has appeared in 21 playoff games and averages 28 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. His shooting line of .404/.297/.846 leaves a lot to be desired.
His best chance to succeed was in 2008-09 when the Denver Nuggets finished 54-28 (same as 2012-13 Knicks) and faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets were eliminated in an embarrassing Game 6 loss in Denver, where Anthony tallied 25 points (6-for-17 FG, 12-for-15 FT), but just two rebounds, two assists and one steal. Kobe Bryant put up 35 points, six rebounds and 10 assists. Just sayin’.
STAT SHEET SUPERSTAR
When you get down to it, there have been many players who haven’t had playoff success that we still consider to be superstars. Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, John Stockton and Karl Malone come to mind, but they were all either the BEST at something or multi-faceted. Is Anthony the best shooter? No. Is he a better scorer than Kevin Durant? No. Does that make him a stat sheet superstar and thus, the most overrated superstar in the NBA? Yes.