It's a matter of comparing what has been expected to what has been produced.
It's also a matter of taking into account what a player's role on his team is and how he and the team have responded to that player in a given role.
Anthony was brought to the New York Knicks in a highly publicized mega deal in February 2011. He didn't instantly transform the Knicks, but the team did make the playoffs and even though they lost in four straight games to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, the Knicks were riddled with injuries and Anthony almost single-handedly led the Knicks to a win in Game 2.
That game featured a performance for the ages from Anthony when he scored 42 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.
The Knicks started the 2011-2012 season with high hopes, and when Anthony came up big on opening day against the Boston Celtics and led the Knicks to a season-starting victory, the expectations looked reasonable.
Almost three months later, that first game against the Celtics is just a distant memory.
Anthony's 21.3 points per game is his lowest since his rookie season. His 40 percent field goal rate is the lowest of his career and is over five points below his career average. Anthony is averaging almost a half rebound less than his career mark.
It's about far more than the numbers though. Carmelo Anthony is the Knicks' "star" player. When he plays well they're supposed to win most of their games, when he plays poorly that could signal a loss. If he's injured the team should logically struggle, when he's healthy the team should perform at a higher level.
That's not how its played out this season. In fact, it has been the opposite. The Knicks' best run this season occurred when Anthony was injured. He missed seven consecutive games in February and the Knicks won six of those games. Since his return, the team has gone two and eight. A dreadful stretch that has caused the Knicks' fanbase to publicly voice their displeasure with his performance.
With Anthony's numbers all near or at career-low numbers and his team now sporting an abysmal 18-24 record, the current state of Carmelo Anthony is one that's not so good. He's this season's biggest bust.
To be fair, the Knicks' problems aren't all Anthony's fault. No individual player can be held completely responsible for a team's performance. Carmelo was brought in to change the franchise's direction though. Many observers thought that would be the case last February when the trade was completed.
"The view of the Knicks has changed instantly. For the first time in a decade they look like a team on the rise, which isn't bad for a franchise that had been snubbed last July by all of the most-wanted free agents." - Ian Thomsen Sports Illustrated 2/22/11
To this point, that has not been the case. Having lost six in a row, the Knicks are in no way, shape or form "on the rise." Instead, their prospects are sinking and Carmelo Anthony can't be exonerated from the bulk of the blame.