Overrated, over-hyped and not worth the contract.
After winning an NCAA championship in his freshman year at Syracuse, Carmelo Anthony is back in his hometown stomping grounds. Anthony is striving to bring the New York Knicks something that they haven't won since 1973: an NBA championship.
There have been few scoring talents that have rivaled the ability of Anthony since the establishment of the NBA.
Individually, Anthony is a supernova talent. A career 24.7-point-per-game scorer, Anthony has made the NBA All-Star team five times, he has been All-NBA five times, is an Olympic Gold medalist and he has been in the playoffs every year of his career.
A dominant player, Anthony has shown the ability to take over games when needed. During the 2012 United States Olympic run, in an exhibition game against Spain, 'Melo erupted after checking into the game as a substitute. He scored 23 points in a half, propelling the United States to the win.
Furthermore, it was only four years ago in 2008 when, in the third quarter of a regular-season game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points in a single quarter. That matched the NBA record for points in a quarter that was set by George Gervin.
A long way from being selected third overall in the 2003 NBA draft, Anthony has seen the success of his other draft class members. Unlike Carmelo, some of his draftees have been able to climb to the top of the NBA mountain and win a title. Kendrick Perkins, Darko Milicic, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and now LeBron James all have championships on their resume.
The difference between the players mentioned and Anthony is their ability to sacrifice. The players that have won titles have had to sacrifice parts of their game in order to win.
Whether it was taking a lesser role offensively and scoring fewer points, or reducing the perimeter jumpers and getting into the paint more, even playing a bigger role on the defensive end—these were all sacrifices that were not made in vain. The reason being that these were nuances that allowed their respective teams to win and had these players hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy in June.
To be fair, the players in the 2003 draft class all learned from Hall of Fame players on their roster. Darko Milicic was a part of the 2004 Detroit Pistons who should be enshrined together for their superb playoff runs, and Dwyane Wade won in 2006 playing with Shaquille O'Neal. Kendrick Perkins played with the "Big Three" in Boston of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are the newest members of the championship club and they played with a future Hall of Famer in Dwyane Wade.
During his tenure in Denver, the lone Hall of Famer Anthony played with was Allen Iverson. Although Iverson is one of the greatest competitors and players to have ever played in the NBA, he is still a ball-stopper and an isolation player in his own right. He has a game similar to Anthony's, the difference being Iverson was a guard and also was not a leader.
Consequently, the teams that Carmelo plays for have been tricked into believing they are good enough to win championships. Granted that Carmelo doesn't play defense on a high level every single possession and the fact he didn't begin the previous NBA season in shape post-lockout would be a reason for that. But for a nine-year veteran, these are things that should be behind him. Starting anew, hopefully after the United States captures their second gold medal in a row, next season his troubles should be behind him.
After capturing a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Anthony then had the best year of his pro career.
Winning a franchise-record 54 games with the Denver Nuggets, Anthony was the driving force. That was also the only year he advanced past the first round of the NBA playoffs playing alongside point guard Chauncey Billups. The Nuggets reached the Western Conference finals, losing to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Anthony's play on both ends of the court in that series showed that he does have the ability to take a team deep into the playoffs.
Now having to deal with the burden of trying to become a leader since the New York Knicks allowed their blessing in disguise, Jeremy Lin, to sign with the Houston Rockets, it will once again be solely on the shoulders of Anthony to lead his team to the promised land.
Playing in the Eastern Conference, Anthony will be faced with his most difficult attempt at a playoff run. With the newly formed Brooklyn Nets team, the revamping of the Boston Celtics and the NBA champion Miami Heat all in the conference, it will take more than scoring points to defeat these teams.
With a formidable squad, the Knicks will have enough firepower to match up across the board with any team in the league, but their success will rest on the ability of Anthony to finally lead a team and make sacrifices to win.
It has only been two years and New York is waiting for a ring because Knicks fans see the potential their team has.
Playing in a big city like New York where the lights shine the brightest, the stage is set for Carmelo Anthony to finally make the push and take the Knicks to the top of the basketball world.
For his own legacy, Anthony will need to win a ring, sooner rather than later.