Give me Klay Thompson, John Wall, Giannis Greek Yogurt, and Karl Towns over Carmelo Anthony any. day. of. the. week. There are definitely 15 better players right now than Melo. The Knicks are Kristaps’ team now, and there is no looking back. Sure, back in his days as a Nugget, there was absolutely no doubt that Carmelo Anthony was a top 10 player in the Association, and just a few seasons ago, he led the 2012-13 New York Knickerbockers to a 2-seed in the East before falling to Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers in a great Semifinals. As for the following two seasons? What a complete disaster. Yeah I know, the supporting cast was brutal. Jose Calderon and chubby boy Raymond Felton were the worst, but Melo didn’t sign a $124,000,000 contract to make All-Star games. He signed it to bring New York back to basketball prominence, and he has yet to produce that.
I’m not a huge fan of ranking players, but I think it’s fair to rank them within the same season. Nothing boils my potatoes like when people argue who’s better: Russell Westbrook or Oscar Robertson. Wait did you just say Oscar Robertson!?! He played in the fu**ing 60’s! Did they even have nets on the rims? Anyways, I would have Carmelo Anthony within the 20-25 range for the NBA’s best players for the 2016-17 season. As for who is ahead of him? You’re goddamn right Porzingis is. The Latvian Don is a majestical unicorn who has an immense impact on the game at BOTH ends of the court. And please, don’t get me wrong, the Knicks would STINK without Carmelo Anthony. He is still a star in this league and without a doubt an offensive force, but here is why he is NOT a top 15 player:
Let’s think about the game of basketball for a second. You only get a certain amount of possessions per game, and the best teams are the most efficient teams. So far this season, the average NBA team has just over 95 possessions per game and scores 103.6 points per 100 possessions. This results in NBA teams averaging 85.0 field goal attempts per game. Over his career, Carmelo Anthony has averaged 20 field goal attempts per game, and is scoring at a clip of 22 points per game this season. Carmelo Anthony alone accounts for almost one fourth of Knicks field goal attempts, and does very little facilitating of the basketball (2.8 APG). Let’s face it: Carmelo Anthony is a ball-stopper (no, not the good kind), the King of the stagnant offense, and it is very difficult to win with him on your team at this point in his career. As long as he is the best player on his team, Carmelo Anthony will never win an NBA Championship. If you’re going to take a quarter of your team’s shots and shoot just above 40%, you’ve got to do more on the court to be considered a “great” player, and that is why Melo is “very good”. His defense has picked up a little in recent years, but he is nowhere near the caliber of a player like James Harden right now, who can still be elite without playing much defense.
To make matters worse, Melo came out this summer and said his Olympic success has defined his “great career”. Chill out bro. Your best accomplishment in your NBA career is giving Kobe everything you could in the 2009 Western Conference Finals. But the Olympics!? Wtf is that. I would bet you that if Team USA replaced Carmelo Anthony with me on the 2008 gold medal team, I would own a gold medal.
As we approach the incredible slate of Christmas Day games next week, the Knicks sit at a measly 14-13, good enough for 6th place in the East. Things appear to be heading in the right direction and at times, the Knicks have been a pretty intriguing team. I truly believe this is the first time in his career that Melo is not the best player on his team, and in my mind, this is a recipe for success. However, when the clock winds down at the end of close games, the Knicks revert back to feeding Carmelo at the elbow for a double-teamed, highly contested jumper. This actually happens every. single time. and there is nothing more frustrating to watch. Santa, if you’re reading this, it is NOT too late for the 2017 Knicks. All I want for Christmas is to see the keys of the team be taken from Melo and handed to…nobody. On paper, this roster could do something special, but they won’t unless the ball is shared more. Other than from an emotional standpoint, there is no purpose for this team to have a “leader” or “best player” that demands the ball. Kristaps is a phenomenal talent, and Derrick Rose gets a bad rap for how much he gives you at the offensive end. Madison Square Garden has a real buzz to it this year, but the fans still deserve better, and it starts with Number 7.