New York Knicks: Is Carmelo Anthony a Top 15 Player in the NBA?
Upon reaching the edge of glory, nothing but greatness is enough to soothe the fire in your heart. With adversity in the form of competition, however, no one will reach that point without sacrifice.
A sacrifice that Carmelo Anthony may not be ready to make.
The New York Knicks' star forward has proven throughout the duration of his mercurial career that he can score with the best of them; his career average of 24.7 points per game is evidence of such. He's also proven that he can compete with the best of them in the clutch, as evidenced by his game-clinching performance against the Chicago Bulls.
The issue is, the marginal success that Carmelo Anthony has found as an individual has always been trumped by an inability to buy into the aspect of team basketball. As a result, Melo's ability to score at an efficient rate, posting a career shooting percentage of 45.5 from the field, has never led to his emergence as the leader of a legitimate title contender.
The one year he did make the Western Conference Finals, Melo saw his Denver Nuggets face defeat at the hands of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. The deciding Game 6 ended at a score of 119-92 and was over by the time the fourth quarter began.
The one saving grace for Melo, in this instance, is that he truly has been remarkable with the game on the line.
Carmelo Anthony is ranked in the top 10 in almost every statistical category for clutch play amongst active players, including a rather impressive 37.5 shooting percentage in the final 24 seconds of games. That's good for fifth in the NBA.
What's important to note, however, is that 50.7 percent of Melo's clutch shots came on assisted buckets. This offsets the wide-spread notion that Carmelo Anthony works off himself, as the statistics show how reliant upon a facilitator he truly is.
Where does Carmelo Anthony rank amongst the NBA's best?
So why can't he play team ball? One may never know.
We could talk about his lack of effort on defense, as well as his tendency to over-dribble and force contested jump shots, but let's be real; every player in the NBA has a flaw. The question is, does Carmelo Anthony's scoring ability and occasional dominance of the glass qualify him for consideration amongst the NBA's elite?
Even without a single NBA Finals appearance, as well as eight first-round exits, the answer is yes.
Carmelo Anthony is as dynamic a scorer as you will find in the NBA, combining a powerful penetrating dribble with a beautiful jump shot. His form isn't the most consistent, but when on his game, his quick release and angled leap make for an impossible defensive assignment.
One might even say that Melo is the most dominant scorer in the NBA when on his game. The claim is backed by evidence of his four games with at least 30 points against LeBron James' vaunted defense in 2012. It's also enforced by the fact that Melo outscored and outshot LeBron as a rookie but still lost the Rookie of the Year award.
While Anthony may be a postseason dud, he's one of the best scorers this generation has seen. He's a fundamental tweak away from being a superstar and an attitude tweak away from being an all-time great—both adjustments that he is capable of making.
The only question at this point is, how many people could you name that you would rather have than Carmelo Anthony? Highly unlikely that anyone could reach 15 with bias set aside.
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