With LeBron James having an NBA championship under his belt, the ringless conversation has shifted to New York Knicks star, Carmelo Anthony, and can he lead the Knicks past the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Anthony is an elite talent, but with mediocre work ethic; Anthony has league-leading offensive gifts , but his defensive talents are just meh-ish. He’s incessantly compared to Kevin Durant and James; one is an NBA champ and the other has seen the NBA Finals, but is it Melo’s time to shine?
His record speaks for itself; he has been out of the first round of the playoffs once and that one year he went to the Western Conference Finals in which the Denver Nuggets failed to the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. Before I go on, Anthony has to be credited for revitalizing Denver as well as being in a tough conference, but at the same time, we have to make peace with what Anthony is.
And what is he exactly?
He’s a one-dimensional player that has a record of not trusting teammates. This is also known as not giving up the ball, it was well documented in Denver and it’s been noticeable in New York. He doesn’t trust his teammates to be able to offensively contribute to take the team to the next level.
He is in, arguably, the biggest media market in the sports world and he is under a microscope. It’s less about the mistakes J.R. Smith makes, or if Raymond Felton isn’t “in-shape” because it all boils down to what Anthony does or does not do. He will forever be compared to James — although it’s extremely unfair to be compared to the greatest basketball player on the planet — until he can surge in the postseason.
Trusting his teammates and allowing other scoring threats to take over the wheel, at times, is the first step for Melo.
Obviously, another issue is chemistry among the new-look Knicks, with the additions of Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Ronnie Brewer etc., it would seem New York is a better team. The veteran presence of Kidd would situate the Knicks and having a defensive back-up when Tyson Chandler is on the bench in Camby is valuable, as well. However, will Carmelo ( and Amar’e Stoudemire ) give a little of their own selfishness so the Knicks can gel appropriately?
Only time will tell, but for now, there’s an immense amount of expectations on Anthony’s shoulders to lead New York into the playoffs and the Knicks fan base is hungry for a postseason outside of the first round.
Anthony is an extremely gifted player, but nothing is more frustrating than watching a player settle and being content with a limited effort.
The unanswered question that remains: will Anthony lessen on his iso-heavy game and incorporate the other talented pieces on the Knicks to propel New York past the quarterfinals of the playoffs?
One thing is for sure, Melo has the keys, but will he turn the ignition.