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What is Melo's problem, anyway?

Published by Yoshi on 17th October - 18:00 (CET)
I'm sure each and every one of you reading this have had this conversation at some point. How great is Carmelo Anthony anyway? Is he even great or is he just a glorified scorer? Who really killed 2Pac?

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Melo is one of the all-time great scorers. With a career average of 24.9 PPG and an arsenal ranging from three-pointers to mid-range to straight up bully ball in the paint, he is most definitely a guy you want to have the ball when in need of a bucket. But is scoring enough to be one of the greats? While the rest of his career averages are decent (6.6 RPB, 3.2 APG, 1.1 STL, 0.5 BPG with 45.3% from the field, 34.4% from three and 81.2% on FTs) they are clearly not impressive enough to propel him further up the Ladder of Greatness.

The immense scoring talent has not exactly translated into major team success either. While the Denver Nuggets made the playoffs every year during Melo's seven years with the franchise, they only made it past the first round once, when they in 2009 made it all the way to the WCF and lost 4-2 to the Lakers who went on to win the championship. His fortune continued in similar fashion with the New York Knicks where the team was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round the first two seasons with Melo ('11 and '12) and the second round in the third year. Since those three years the Knickerbockers haven't been able to spell "playoffs" and Melo has faced more and more scrutiny from fans, media and anyone with half a basketball brain.

While a lot of people, among them former Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, speak highly of Melo's character and commitment to the game, there are clearly occasions where his actions have suggested otherwise. While his appearance in "Stop Snitchin'" - a 2004 DVD where drug dealers "encourage" people to keep their mouths shut - can be attributed to him being young and dumb, his epic hit'n'run against Mardy Collins in 2006 probably cannot. And when a player who at a later stage in his career continuously says that all he wants to do is win ends up signing one of the biggest contracts ever with one of the worst teams ever, you have to wonder what he's really about.

In the leadership category Melo has rarely stood out compared to his superstar peers, and one of the most glaring examples of his weakness in that area is when the same players who formed a total disaster team around him - Iman Shumpert, JR Smith and Timofey Mozgov - went on to create an immediate contender around Lebron James in Cleveland. He couldn't be led to deeper playoff success by all-time great leaders Chauncey Billups and Allen Iverson in Denver, and he has failed to bring the Knicks to any impressive heights when the role of leader was transferred to him.

So while Carmelo Anthony surely is a delight to watch and a force to be reckoned with on the offensive end, he shouldn't be anticipating an invitation to the Hall of Fame any time soon. Well, he probably should for his international achievements, but not for when he's playing against actual players.

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