The New York Knicks have struggled mightily since the arrival of Carmelo Anthony on February 11, 2011, but it’s not his fault. Anthony has done everything in his power to bring success to New York, but he has gotten very little help from any of his teammates.
A common label given to Melo recently is that he is a selfish player since he takes a ton of shots every game. This is in no way the case, though. He may take the most shots on the team on a nightly basis, but that’s what the best scorer on any team does. This has led to a ton of success for many other teams, so to say he is selfish or has caused the Knicks to lose since he takes so many shots can’t possibly be true.
Let’s compare Melo’s shooting to the remainder of the top scorers in the league last season.
In 2011-12, Anthony was sixth in the NBA in field-goal attempts per game with 18.6, as well as sixth in the league in points per game with 22.6. The same five players finished the season ahead of him in both categories, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook.
Out of these five players, three of them were on a team that made it to the NBA Finals last season. In addition to these three, Dwyane Wade also participated in the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat and he finished seventh in the league in scoring with 22.1 points per game.
So what’s a common theme between the teams who made it to the championship? You need two players to finish in the top 10 in the league in scoring.
Where did the Knicks’ second-highest scorer finish last season? Amar’e Stoudemire ended the year averaging just 17.5 points per game—good for 33rd in the league. Carmelo Anthony did his job on the offensive end, now it’s Stoudemire who needs to provide the Knicks with another lethal scoring option.
If three players who shot more than Melo made it to the championship last season, how can he be blamed for shooting too much?
Another reason many people blame Anthony for the Knicks' struggles is because they feel he is a poor teammate on and off the court. This also couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whenever one of Melo’s teammates are asked about Anthony being a selfish player or someone who’s hard to be on a team with, they always shoot that down immediately and have nothing but praise for him.
"We have no worries about Carmelo. He's a phenomenal player," Stoudemire said. "I think it's completely nonsense,” Chandler added.
Even some of Anthony’s former teammates, most notably Kenyon Martin, who played with Anthony on the Nuggets from 2004-2011, have also chimed in to refute this claim of Melo being selfish.
"First of all man, I wanted to call in to ESPN and say something when I saw them saying [Anthony would mess it up]," Martin told SI.com. "Melo wants to win. The man is a competitor, and he wants to win. He's as competitive as they come. Smart basketball player, and the best player on that team -- hands down. So I don't understand why people are questioning whether he's selfish or not. No, the man is not selfish. The man wants to win. He'll do whatever it takes to win. I don't think he'll mess nothing up. He's going to come in and be Carmelo Anthony. They act like this kid was a cancer, like he came in there and destroyed the locker room and made everybody hate him. No, it wasn't nothing like that man. And it bothers me for people to be talking about how he's a selfish player and he has to defend himself."
With Melo being such a dominant presence on the court, it’s easy to just throw the blame his way when things aren’t going well. When you look deeper into the chemistry of the team and what’s really going on though, you’ll see it’s completely unwarranted.