What exactly is the big deal with Carmelo Anthony? There has never been a better time to ask this question. Not because his credentials as one of the best players in the NBA needs to be questioned, it doesn’t, but because his New York Knicks team are going through a particularly rough patch. Right now the team sits at 3-13, half a game ahead of whipping boys, the Milwaukee Bucks. Knicks fans will say ‘Melo isn’t getting the help, that he is doing all that he can for the team and they are right. Nevertheless though, it is clear now he is not the player who can lead a team to the promised land.
This is not a rant against Carmelo Anthony, but personally, I’ve just never gotten it. While a Denver Nugget, I believed he could be great. It never really materialized, but when a player is young and surrounded by mediocre talent, it is easy to continue to give them more chances to improve. After engineering a move to the Knicks however, the onus really was on him to win big. Yes Amar’e Stoudemire is now more hindrance than help, but that shouldn’t be a complete cop out for Anthony, the former Oak Hill standout. Too often he has tried to shoot his way out of trouble, and despite being an offensive juggernaut, doing this for 82 regular season games and then some more in the playoffs becomes easy to plan for.
The two main issues I have with Carmelo Anthony and the reasons he will never win a title are this. He does not makes the players around him better and he refuses to play second fiddle anywhere he goes. Dissecting the initial claim first, while Kobe Bryant also is the kind of player who doesn’t make his teammates better, he is a better all-around player than Anthony has ever been. More than that, the powers that be at Lakers HQ made smart trades and acquisitions that enhanced Bryant’s selfish abilities, rather than highlight them in a negative fashion. If you look at some of the players he won his last two titles with, the examples are clear for all to see. Pau Gasol is an excellent power forward, top five in the league when the Lakers were winning rings. He can do so much with the ball in hand and an offense running through him, as we have seen when he plays for Spain. Watch him without the ball though, and he is just as effective. Setting screens, grabbing boards and staying quiet, key attributes that allow Bryant to excel. Take Steve Blake, a point guard. He is also a point guard that more often than not doesn’t even bring the ball up the court when Kobe plays. He is a decent spot up shooter and another outlet for Kobe absolutely, but in no way is he a dominant point guard. This is why it has worked for the Lakers. We are being harsh on Anthony here, because he is a victim of circumstance. He can only play with the teammates the organisation goes and gets. J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, they do not fit his game, and it shows. Anthony’s refusal to adapt however, is another issue altogether.
Carmelo Anthony will never play second fiddle on any team, but just imagine if he did. Dwyane Wade realized a few years back if he put his ego to one side, he could win more titles. So that’s what he did, he took a step back and benefited from it massively. Carmelo sees himself as a superstar of the league, but is he really? Offense is great to look at and it will win you some games and get you All-Star votes, but defense and hustle win championships. Anthony actually showed those attributes at times last season, but right now, with the chips down, he looks disinterested. That is yet another complaint, his attitude and desire to turn the ship around by himself are there, just not totally.
He takes too many shots, doesn’t improve those around him and has failed to acknowledge and work on the flaws in his game. He is as far away from winning a ring now as he has ever been and has spoken about his desire to be a free agent next summer. If teams had sense they would steer clear of Anthony, all he has brought to teams so far is a lot of offensive play and little else. There is no sign of him changing the way he is and wherever he lands next he will expect to be the main attraction when it has been proven he is not good enough to get a team to the top on his own, nobody is. Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s most overrated player.