Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire or LeBron James: Who Would You Prefer?

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIIMarch 1, 2011

Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire or LeBron James: Who Would You Prefer?

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    When LeBron James made the long trip from Cleveland to Miami this offseason, I'm not sure he knew what would ensue in the NBA.

    Since James and Chris Bosh went south to join Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat, NBA players have been on the move. All around the league, players have been changing their area code to try and compete with the NBA's new level of competition.

    The biggest move since the Miami merger was the teaming up of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. Yes, Chauncey Billups was also an unsung part of the deal, but the big pieces for the future are Anthony and Stoudemire.

    Deron Williams was also sent to New Jersey before the trade deadline. Rumors are now circulating that Dwight Howard might leave the Orlando Magic at the end of this season. His desired target: the Los Angeles Lakers.

    With all of this moving, it's not unlikely to question what core a general manager would rather build around.

    Right now, I'm going to decide who I'd rather have on my team: Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire or LeBron James.

Physical Presence

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    These three players are in the elite of the NBA. A huge reason for their value is their size and build.

    James is one of the best ball-handlers the league has ever seen. His skill set is reminiscent of Magic Johnson in that he can play every position on the floor.

    Anthony is 6'8", the same as James. Although he isn't as explosive of a leaper or as good of a guard, Anthony has advantages of his own. Most players at Anthony's height can't shoot the ball half as good as he can. He can catch fire and light a team up from downtown or get the ball to the rim.

    Stoudemire is arguably the most powerful power forward in the game today. He can bully around anyone his size. He's also an explosive leaper.

    Blake Griffin may get all the credit these days, but Stoudemire could really rise back in Phoenix before his knee injuries. He will never have the absolute explosiveness he did in his younger years, but he's not average either.

    No offense to Anthony or Stoudemire, but there is no one in the NBA as physically gifted as LeBron James.

    Advantage: James

Room to Improve

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    There's no arguing that all three of these players could still get better, but which player is furthest away from his ceiling.

    James could still see his improvement in his jump shot and even his late-game decision-making. Other than that, James has pretty much everything else working for him.

    Stoudemire has added a dependent jump shot to his already impressive resume. He could add some defensive intensity and passing ability to his repertoire.

    Anthony seems to be a fairly one-dimensional player at this point in his career. His ability to score the basketball is at the top of the league, but he's lacking in other departments. Passing, rebounding and defense are just three of the areas that Anthony could get better in.

    With all of this in mind, Anthony seems to be the player with the best chance to get better. Stoudemire beats out James for a distant second.

    Advantage: Anthony and Stoudemire

Desire to Play Alongside

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    All three of these players like to hoist over 20 shots per contest. With Anthony and Stoudemire on the team, shots would be hard to come by—especially in crunch time.

    LeBron is a proven distributor of the ball, averaging seven assists per game during his career. Once LeBron takes the ball to the basket, he's just as likely to dish as he is to dunk.

    With Anthony and Stoudemire, they prefer to be isolated against their defenders. They might not always shoot the ball, but they do more often than not. Isolation plays leave teammates flat-footed and rarely will an isolated player pass out of the situation.

    If a team were looking to bring in players to help build a team, they'd be more likely to join forces with James. There's just more space to succeed with the Heat star.

    Advantage: James

Fan Appeal

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    If a team is solely looking to bring in a huge crowd, these are three likely candidates for MVP.

    James' southbound trip helped double the number of Miami Heat fans in the world. The Heat have garnered a huge fan base since the move and it wasn't Chris Bosh that people were set on seeing.

    However, Carmelo's move to New York was a seismic shift in the NBA. Because James was the best thing to happen to the Cleveland Cavaliers in their franchise's history, he left behind some bitter fans.

    As far as I know, Denver Nuggets fans moved on the day after the trade.

    Anthony and Stoudemire are well-liked stars in the NBA and fans would get a better sense of attachment to these two players.

    Advantage: Anthony and Stoudemire

Clutch Play

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    No one would ever accuse any of these three of shying away from a big moment.

    Anthony proved his ability to be a game-changer at Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. As a Nugget, he made a plethora of big shots and always wanted to have the ball in his hand with the game on the line.

    Amar'e has hit his fair of big shots in the clutch. Unfortunately for Amar'e, this is more of a designation given to guards, as they are usually the ones with the ball at the end of games. Stoudemire can hit a big shot, but he's not going to beat anyone off the dribble to get to the rim.

    LeBron has yet to display a big game-winning moment as a member of the Miami Heat. Those times were aplenty when he was a member of the Cavaliers.

    James has faced some stern criticism for rushing big shots late in games, but I say let it rain. If a coach or teammate isn't happy with James taking the final shot, they are out of their mind.

    Advantage: James

The Verdict

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    If I were to build a franchise right now, I would build around LeBron James. Yes, the idea of having two superstars over one is a nice idea, but look a little deeper.

    How can two stars who are reluctant to share the ball hold more value than the most talented player in the NBA today?

    Starting a team around Carmelo and Amar'e isn't a bad thing by any means, there's just other players that are easier to build around in the league.

    I would even be as bold as to say I'd rather start with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

    What do you think?