The NBA's Top Three Players: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and...Carmelo Anthony?

By Thomas Duffy
Eric P. Mull – US Presswire

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the best players in the NBA; there is absolutely no debating that. But this year, Carmelo Anthony will join the ranks of the “King” and the “Durantchula,” due largely to his improved defense. The New York Knicks have a new head coach in Mike Woodson who was able to motivate Carmelo to do something last year that very few have seen him do over the course of his career: play “D”. If the Knicks have any aspirations to win a playoff series in 2013, ‘Melo will have to be able to defend with heart and hustle, which isn’t as a wild of an idea as you might think.

Anyone who has seen Anthony play will admit that he is a special player on the offensive end of the floor. He can single handedly light up the defense with his seemingly infinite arsenal of offensive moves: drives, pull ups, dunks, crossovers, fadeaways, spot up shots, and the list goes on. But what Anthony lacks, quite simply, is passion on the other end of the court. Mike Woodson, for the sake of NY basketball, will be the man to bring out the defender in Carmelo. When he gets low, squares up, and sets his mind to stopping his opponent, Anthony is actually a quality defensive player. The problem lies within his desire to do so, as it didn’t seem to bother him seeing his man score, the way it bothers LeBron James when he is scored upon.

Two years ago, when the Knicks were down 0-3 to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Carmelo Anthony locked up Paul Pierce and absolutely shut him down. Pierce had 13 Points (5-18), while Anthony dropped 32 Points (10-24). Although the Knicks wound up losing the game, with the help of a favorable call for Boston in the last two minutes, that is the kind of effort that New York will need from its superstar in order to play deep into the playoffs.

ESPN Ranked Anthony as the 17th best player in NBA. This is ridiculous to have him that low! With added defensive effort, Carmelo is one of the top three players in the league. The four-letter network isn’t the only critic that doubts Anthony. Former NBA Stars Shaquille O’Neal and Stephon Marbury have come out saying that the Knicks have “no shot” at dethroning the Miami Heat, and adding that the Anthony and A’mare Stoudemire pairing will “never work.” If that doesn’t light a fire under Carmelo, I don’t know what will.

After this season, Carmelo Anthony will finally be viewed as one of the best players in the NBA. To all who question his game, as he says in the new Footlocker commercial: “Apologize to ‘Melo.”

Follow Thomas Duffy @TD_Knicks on Twitter for Knicks news, updates, rumors, thoughts, and opinions.


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