When I was a junior in high school I watched a young Carmelo Anthony beat one of my favorite players, Amare Stoudemire, in the McDonalds All American dunk contest. The next year he won a national championship at Syracuse and was then drafted 3rd in the NBA Draft, overlooked by a phenom named Lebron James. I chose to constantly pick Melo over Lebron because to me Carmelo was the better basketball player and Lebron was the better athlete.
MELO HAS UNDOUBTEDLY BEEN STAGNATING
But over a dozen years Lebron has outworked everyone to become an all time great and Melo has seemed complacent, a model of consistency, not improvement. When you read of other players working for entire summers with legends to develop new moves Melo’s name was never on the list. Year in and year out I read Lists of NBA player rankings and Melo was consistently in the top 20, never in the top 10. As a Knick fan I hoped that these lists would light a fire under Melo and make him prove everyone wrong. But I was the one that was wrong. And now here we are in 2016, with a competent, entertaining team and a young versatile forward who has seemingly broken the Knicks draft curse. And Melo? He’s flashing signs of his old self, occasionally hitting a game winner all while shooting the worst percentage of his career and a dismal 32% from deep.
The Knicks look great when they are “wheeling and dealing” as Clyde Frazier loves to say, but too many times does the ball reach Melo on the three point line just to have him dribble three times and pull up on a contested jumper. He should realize that he is now the second option on this team and evolve, evolve into a team player looking to move off the ball, pass first and put the team first, not put the team on his back because it has become clearer everyday that he couldn’t in the first place.