The two royal dynasties of the NBA are the Boston Celtics with their 17 championships, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers winning 16. The New York Knicks only have two, but they’re a special part of the league’s history, and for the first time all three teams aren’t going to be in the playoffs, while Carmelo Anthony, part of his equation, missed the postseason for the first time in his career.
The Celtics made the playoffs six consecutive seasons during their “big three era” – From 2007-08 through the 2012-13 season. They won the NBA championship in 2008, reached the NBA finals in 2010 and made two more conference finals: 2009 and 2012. But we’ve had streaks of them not making it to the final eight: Two years under Doc Rivers and a six year streak from the 1995-1996 season through the 2000-01.
The Lakers aren’t used to being left out, but it’s going to happen this year with a woeful record, not even coming close. Only five teams since 1949 have the Lakers not gone on to play some postseason basketball. Only once was there a two-year streak: 1975 and 1976. The Lakers last missed the playoffs in the post-Shaq season of 2004-05, when Kobe Bryant was all alone in leading the team. This year there wasn’t even a Bryant to help them make the failure look a bit better, healthy enough to play in only six games.
The Knicks aren’t exactly NBA royalty, but they’re in the biggest market, and obviously draw a lot of attention no matter what happens. They haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 1999, haven’t won a championship since 1973. They’re quite used to missing out on the playoffs. However, they did have a three-year streak going, and last season finally made it out of the first round. Now they need to hope this isn’t like most of the previous decade, as they missed out on the playoffs from 2002 to 2010 including except for one season in 2004.
Carmelo Anthony has been the only player in that famous 2003 draft to make the playoffs every time in his 10 NBA seasons. He usually bows out in the first round, but still, even LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have missed out on the playoffs here and there. Anthony has only been past the first round twice in his career: In 2009 with the Nuggets, reaching the conference finals, and in 2013, making the conference semifinals with the Knicks.
Now it’s not just starting a new streak, but making a decision about what might be his next team, and whether or not staying in New York gives him the best shot of winning a championship. There aren’t that many options for him to follow, but he’ll likely opt out of his deal to make sure he gets maximum money for a few more years. It might also mean he’ll spend the rest of his prime without being able to reach the heights his fellow draft class stars have been able to.