Melo is currently leading the NBA in scoring with 28.6 points per game, has played in this year's All-Star game and has led the Knicks to first place in the Atlantic Division. Is he already the best Knick ever? That's a pretty bold question to ask, considering he has yet to play a full 82-game season with New York, but his resume still holds up compared to past Madison Square Garden legends.
Out of all the past Knicks, Anthony most often draws comparisons to Bernard King due to both men's abilities to score at will. Both players put up staggering numbers throughout their careers, but for this discussion, only their games as Knicks will be judged.
King had four seasons when he scored over 20 points per game for New York (one of them a staggering 32.9 PPG). Anthony is already at three in his third season with the team, and he's scoring at a clip that has taken his awesome career to the next level. Earlier this season, Carmelo set a franchise record for scoring at least 20 a game for 31 consecutive games. The only reason the streak ended was because Carmelo rode the bench most of the next game as his teammates obliterated the Sacramento Kings.
The only knock on Carmelo compared to Bernard is that King had three seasons with a .500-plus field-goal percentage, while Carmelo has yet to finish a season in New York above that mark. While Bernard King may be the better Knick at this point in time, Anthony is breathing down his neck and will likely overtake him in the years to come.
Despite his limited time in the Big Apple, however, Melo has already overtaken one of MSG's favorites, Earl "The Peal" Monroe. In nine seasons with the Knicks, The Pearl only had two where he scored more than 20 points per game. While he did earn a championship with the Knicks in 1973, he was aided by two of best Knicks to ever step on the court, Walt "Clyde" Frazier and Willis Reed.
Once you take a look at Frazier and Reed, Anthony drops out of the discussion of greatest Knick ever fairly quickly.
Frazier was a seven-time all-star, had six seasons where he scored more than 20 points per game (he also performed the same feat in the playoffs six times) and averaged more than six rebounds for eight years as a point guard.
Reed was also a seven-time all-star, had six seasons averaging at least 13 rebounds per game and averaged a 20-10 in the playoffs in four different years. Oh, and Frazier and Reed won two rings together in New York.
All of these guys had outstanding careers for the Knickerbockers, but when you look at dominance over an extended period of time, the greatest of them all is Patrick Ewing.
A monster on both ends of the floor, Ewing put up a .500-plus field-goal percentage nine times, 20 points per game 13 times, two blocks per game 14 times, 10 rebounds per game nine times, averaged 20 and 10 in the playoffs six times and was an 11-time all-star. Even though he never won that coveted ring, he goes down as the best Knick ever...for now.
With all that Carmelo Anthony has done in such a short span of time, he's already made his way into this conversation, leapfrogging beloved Knicks such as John Starks, Richie Guerin, Charles Oakley, Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell, and teammate Amar'e Stoudemire. With his already impressive scoring getting even better, as well as improvements on the defensive end, this discussion may need serious reconsideration before too long.