As with all blockbuster trades which land a superstar, the trade the New York Knicks made with Denver Nuggets that landed Carmelo Anthony raised the Knicks’ championship hopes. The Knicks were finally going to get that ultimate scorer that they had been lacking for so long. What added to the aura of his arrival was the fact that he is a homegrown player, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
On the heels of another disappointing ending to a Knicks season under the Anthony Era, it is time to truly reflect on the team’s progress or lack thereof. The Knicks have finally won a playoff series. J.R. Smith has emerged as an energetic yet very inconsistent star who has since become a free agent. Amare Stoudemire has proven to be too injury prone to even be moderately effective. However, where does Anthony fit in?
When Anthony is at his best, he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, scorer in the league. Unfortunately, that is all that he is. He is a marginal rebounder, does not play defense, and often does not realize that basketball is a team sport. Is it much of a stretch to say that Anthony may be the most one-dimensional superstar in the history of New York sports?
Quite often this season, when Anthony would approach the free throw line, “MVP” chants would rain down on him. Sure, he has been valuable. Where would this team have finished in the standings if a scorer like Anthony was not on it? It is his leadership and other skills that are really questionable.
For the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan was not only a spectacular player; he was also a true leader. Part of being a leader is understanding your role and making the rest of the team better. When Jordan scored 55 points at Madison Square Garden during his first return to basketball, he won the game, not with a game winning shot, but with a game winning assist to Bill Wennington. Jordan understood that this decision was the best chance for his team to win. If Anthony was in a similar situation, I tend to believe a shot would have been taken.