5 Reasons Carmelo Anthony Won't Win MVP Award
But can he actually win the award?
With 29.4 points per night and 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc, 'Melo is on fire and outgunning nearly everyone in the league. He's leading the Knickerbockers to places they haven't been in over a decade.
Anthony is finally meeting the lofty expectations New Yorkers had for him, and he's extremely valuable to the franchise.
However, there are some factors, both internal and external, that will prevent him from winning MVP honors.
5. Rebounding Rate Is Down
Rebounding stats alone won't sway MVP voters, but it's a factor they take into consideration for forwards like Carmelo Anthony.
'Melo is grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game, which is fewer than he snagged in 2011-12 even though he's getting more playing time in 2012-13.
His per-minute rebounding rate is what hurts his case the most. Basketball-Reference statistics show that Anthony pulls down 5.9 boards per 36 minutes, which is his lowest mark since the 2006-07 campaign.
Combo forward counterparts Kevin Durant and LeBron James both have better rebounding totals and per-minute ratios. Durant gets 7.4 per game and 6.7 per 36 minutes, while James gets 8.3 per game and 7.7 per 36 minutes.
We don't expect 'Melo to have assist totals comparable to King James or Durantula, but in the rebounding department, he needs to compete with them in order to earn MVP votes.
4. Defensively, He's Good but Not Great
Over the last couple years, Carmelo Anthony has made significant strides defensively.
Not only has he shown more commitment, but his skill has developed on the perimeter and in the post. The result was a career-best defensive rating in 2011-12.
Unfortunately, his defensive value to New York isn't at an MVP level in 2012-13. According to 82games.com, Knicks opponents score more points per 100 possessions when he's on the court (107.5) than when he's off (106).
It doesn't help his MVP candidacy when the team fares better defensively without him.
Stars such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant aren't experiencing that problem.
3. History Isn't on His Side
It's incredibly difficult for a player to win the MVP award if his team isn't one of the top five in the NBA. In fact, almost all MVP winners are on top-three teams.
The last time a player earned the award while playing on a team outside the top five was Michael Jordan on the 1987-88 Chicago Bulls.
Carmelo Anthony's New York Knicks are second in the Eastern Conference and tops in the Atlantic Division, but they own the sixth-best record in the association.
The club would have to make a substantial surge and climb into the top three in the league for 'Melo to have a legitimate chance to win the award.
That is, unless the voters drastically change their ways.
2. LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony can't help it that LeBron James is so good.
The Miami Heat are enjoying another outlandishly-productive season from King James. He generates the vast majority of their offense with his triple threat to drive, shoot or pass. On the other end, he sets the tone for their stifling defensive front.
His per-game averages of 26.6 points, 7.1 assists and 8.3 rebounds are phenomenal, but I'm most impressed by his career-high 55 percent field-goal shooting ('Melo is shooting 45 percent).
James has the best combination of physical attributes and skills that the world has ever seen. Unless he woefully underachieves for the next few years, Anthony might always be the second-best MVP candidate in the Eastern Conference.
1. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant's improvement across the board has fueled the Oklahoma City Thunder's 34-11 campaign and propelled him to the top of the MVP discussion.
He's the only player outscoring Carmelo Anthony this season, and he's doing it more efficiently with 52 percent from the field and 91 percent from the free-throw line.
In addition to filling up the hoop more than 'Melo, Durant is also more important to his team from a passing standpoint. Anthony is a good passer when the situation calls for it, but Durant has really stepped up for his club in 2012-13, dishing 4.4 assists per game.
If the Thunder continue to flirt with the best record in the league, he will remain the favorite to win MVP honors.
For 'Melo, there's no shame in losing the award to Durant, especially considering the way Durant is playing.
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