2013 Is Carmelo Anthony's Last Year to Stake Claim as a "Superstar"
Carmelo Anthony has been named to five All-Star games, honored with selection to the All-NBA Third Team four times and once selected to the All-NBA Second Team.
However, he's never been named to the All-NBA First Team, nor has he received serious MVP consideration.
Something is clearly lacking in Anthony's game, and it's kept the otherwise talented forward from receiving the kind of recognition bestowed to peers like LeBron James or Chris Paul. Something is holding him back from being considered a legitimate superstar.
Sure, Anthony's defense has never been stellar. He's shown inconsistent effort when it's his turn to be a stopper. Given how hard he'll fight for an offensive rebound, this tendency has never made much sense.
There are also serious questions about Anthony's ability to remain an elite scorer while actually helping his team win.
He's consistently averaged at least three assists per game through his career—sometimes even closer to four—but he's never proven to be the kind of guy who makes the right play at the right time.
For all his statistical production and closing abilities, the rap on 'Melo is that offenses begin to stagnate when the ball is in his hands.
He thrives with isolation-heavy playbooks, and his teammates often seem to play the role of dependents rather than an effective supporting cast.
Whatever the technical ailments in Anthony's game, the biggest obstacle in his ascendancy to superstardom is that his clubs consistently rank as no better than very good. After years of the Denver Nuggets coming up as something just short of contenders, life with the New York Knicks appears to be no different.
At least so far.
That could change, and it could change quickly.
Carmelo could finally develop that elusive chemistry with Amar'e Stoudemire. Raymond Felton could bounce back from a subpar campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers and make at least a couple of people forget all about Jeremy Lin.
A full season under head coach Mike Woodson could instill a renewed defensive prowess in this roster, preparing it to do what it must against teams like the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in the postseason.
Perhaps a full offseason would do wonders for J.R. Smith, and a healthy Iman Shumpert just might make this a playoff-ready backcourt.
Anthony did his part last season, but the rest of his team will have to do theirs if he's to establish himself a bona fide superstar.
With Kevin Durant displacing Anthony as the best scoring forward in the game, his new claim to fame must be built on a successful season with the Knicks. No shortcuts or second-best outcomes will suffice.
New York needs a trip to the NBA Finals to justify its massive expenditures, constant reshuffling and the risk it undertook by trading a platoon of young talent for the disaffected Nuggets star.
Anthony needs it too.
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