New York Knicks: Why Carmelo Anthony Isn't a Top 10 Player in the NBA
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This isn't one of those columns about how terrible Carmelo Anthony is.
Sure, his most ardent fans will be offended that he's not listed as a top 10 player.
That's fine, but he's not.
He's a top 10 scorer, in fact he's probably a top five scorer. But there's more to the game than scoring, and when one looks at the type of player Carmelo is, he's just not a top 10 guy.
He finished sixth in the league scoring per game last season. If a game is on the line he's one of the best in the league at creating, and making his own shot.
To make a top 10, is to have a game that extends beyond just scoring. Your game should include the other things a player can do to be great while on the court.
For all the points, Anthony isn't exactly a great passer, and he's not a top rebounder either. His defense isn't terrible, but he won't ever win a bundle of awards for it. In fact, just about all the stats Anthony excels at are ones related to scoring.
In other words, he's a touch too one-dimensional.
If you look back through the annals of NBA history, there have been plenty of great forwards, and plenty of great scoring forwards as well. It's just that the ones who put up numbers that were similar to Anthony, they didn't win a ton.
Take Dominique Wilkins. The "Human Highlight Reel" spent 15 seasons in the NBA. Just like Anthony, he made frequent trips to the playoffs, and just like Anthony, he didn't achieve much in the way of NBA Titles.
Wilkins finished his career with averages of 24.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 2.5 apg. He shot 46.1 percent from the floor and 81.1 percent from the charity stripe. He made a ton of all star teams, but never even appeared in an NBA Finals, never mind actually winning one.
As Carmelo Anthony prepares to play in his 11th season, his career averages look familiar.
Anthony averages 24.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 3.1 apg. He is 45.6 percent from the floor and 80.5 percent from the line.
Anthony plays a different style than Wilkins. Wilkins was a super-athletic slasher, who would get to the basket, and then dunk with wild abandon. Anthony is far more likely to use a series of ball fakes, and up fakes to create open shots. He makes a fair amount of those open shots, and his numbers also reflect that.
The current NBA quite simply has too many other great players, to put Anthony among the league's ten best. Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, and Russell Westbrook are all better all around talents than Anthony.
All of them can score as well, some not as well an Anthony, but they all bring more to the court than Carmelo does.
Carmelo Anthony is still a great scorer, but he's just not quite "top 10" material.
He's also 28 years-old. That's not old by any means, but he's at an age where he's unlikely to improve much down the road.
On any given night Carmelo can explode, and get the team he's on 30-40 points. That's not to be taken lightly, but neither is the value of of being able to do more while on the court.
There are those rare nights when Anthony's shots aren't falling, and unfortunately, there's not a ton of other ways for him to contribute.
The good news is that Dominique Wilkins had no problem getting in the NBA Hall of Fame. A similar fate will befall Anthony. The bad news is that Wilkins never even played in the NBA Finals.
Six of the ten players listed above have already played in the Finals. The other four, Chris Paul, Kevin Love, Deron Williams and Derrick Rose are all amazing talents. Rose has an MVP Award, Love has a nightly double-double and is the league's best rebounder. Deron Williams and Chris Paul are both spectacular point guards, and solid defenders.
Leaving Carmelo Anthony off a list of the NBA's ten best players is not a slight to Anthony. No, it is a testament to just how much talent the league has right now. There may very well have been a time over the course of NBA history, in which Anthony would have been on a top ten list.
This is not that time.
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