Hoping that the Carmelo Anthony of the Olympic games is going to show up and whisk the New York Knicks to uncharted territory, meaning a conference semifinal, where they haven’t been to since 2000, is simply putting all your money on a false idol; a player who’s very good, but not good enough to take teams on his back as the leading man.
During Carmelo Anthony’s career, which has now spanned nine NBA seasons, he has never missed the postseason. Only once, in the 2008-2009 season, did he make it out of the first round of the playoffs with the Denver Nuggets, taking them to the Conference finals. The rest? Losses, all of them in six games or less. He might be a part of a very special draft class along with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but he’s not at that level.
Even LeBron James needed to team up with Wade and Bosh (also from the 2003 class) so he’ll win a title. Mind you, he took the Cleveland Cavaliers very far after the first two seasons on the team, never losing in the first round of the postseason, despite not having a shiny roster surrounding him. But Carmelo Anthony isn’t LeBron James, and the Olympic games didn’t contradict it, they proved it.
Anthony is a scorer and a shooter. He’s good some nice post moves, a decent rebounder because of a very strong upper body, and that’s it. He’s not the point-forward type, with fantastic court vision or passes that are out of the ordinary. He can’t be a floor general; He’s an average defender. He’s simply not the kind of guy that carries a team on his back, doing whatever it takes to win.
The Knicks gave up on Jeremy Lin for various reasons, but one of them was giving the keys to Carmelo and play his kind of basketball. Slower, with a lot of post ups and isolation. The Knicks will probably work with that once again into the playoffs and maybe even further than that, depending on the rankings come April. Unless some miraclous transformation occurs, Anthony isn’t going to become that kind of player, and the Knicks, or any other team, won’t be winning a title while trying to build a roster that puts Anthony in a role he isn’t suited for.
Because when he’s with Bryant, LeBron, Durant and some other all-star point guard on the team (Paul, Williams), all he has to do is get open and hit shots. At that, including clutch time, Anthony is great, among the best in the NBA, right up there with Bryant and Durant. But when he tries to set up his own shots and create for others?
He’s an All-Star player at best. Not that it’s bad. That’s better than 99.99% of the population who dream of becoming NBA Stars. Anthony is a star in probably the best city in the world to be a star in. But that doesn’t make him the kind of player the Knicks need him to be and mistakenly believe he is.