While it’s great that New York Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony has accentuated his great season with his first scoring title, that award is just a precursor to another trophy that could be headed Anthony’s way: the 2013 MVP Award.
In his first full season playing under head coach Mike Woodson, Anthony averaged 28.7 points and shot 45 percent from the field, plus 38 percent from long range, all over the course of just 67 games. In the games that he missed with injury (not counting the recent ones due to rest for the playoffs), the Knicks went 6-6.
But here’s the best part: in the month of April alone, Anthony averaged 36.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54 percent from the field and 47 percent from long range. If those numbers aren’t MVP-like, then I clearly have no clue as to what the proper criteria are.
Now let’s take a look at Anthony’s biggest competition, reigning MVP and Miami Heat star LeBron James.
James finished fourth in the league with 26.8 points per game, but also proved to be a better all-around player compared to Anthony, a pure scorer. On top of his scoring output, James also averaged eight rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting an eye-popping 56.5 percent from the field and 41 percent from long range in 76 games. In games he missed, be it for injury or rest, the Heat went 5-1.
An even better snapshot is to look at James’ performance in April, Anthony’s lights-out month. He shot an incredible 69 percent from the field, and posted 24.8 points to go with six rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. While not at all bad, they’re nowhere near on the same level as Anthony’s production in the same month.
More importantly, consider that James has two excellent teammates in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. If he needs to miss a game for any reason, those two can pick up the slack instantly, as Bosh did for a short period of time this year.
The Knicks do not have the same type of luxury. If Anthony goes down, they have to rely on the streaky (and probably Sixth Man of the Year) J.R. Smith, offensively-limited Tyson Chandler, and a variety of role players, especially if Amar’e Stoudemire is injured. The fact that they have locked up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference despite Anthony’s various injuries this season is not only borderline miraculous, but a testament to how good that ragtag (for lack of better word) squad is despite not looking great on paper.
That all being said, though his game is nowhere near as versatile as some other players’, one thing is certain. Anthony is the scoring champion, and his importance in that department is enough to give him the MVP trophy in 2013. Otherwise, fans could finally have proof that the NBA favors the more dynamic star in James, and that’s just plain unfair.