“History never looks like history when you are living through it.” – John W. Gardner
Somewhere there is a line between the player we expected to be and the player he actually is. We expected him to become a generational talent, battling with his friend and fellow 2003 draftee for the title of best player in the league and one of the best ever. We keep waiting for that history to play out on screen for us, the narrative molding around him. Instead, history keeps rolling on, coursing through his career with a much different story to tell. Anthony is what he is, a great scorer, a good player, a big name, but a player who remains standing on the outside of the legacy he seemed destined to author. History is moving on without him.
And he’s running out of time to change that.
This is a sobering realization, but think about it. Anthony turned 31 last season. Volume scoring combo-forwards coming off knee surgery after the age of 30 don’t project particularly well over the last section of their career. Anthony could hang on and play for another seven to nine years, sure. But peak Melo really only remains in play, given his 30,000 minutes played, for about another four years at maximum. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Anthony fall off dramatically after age 34, or at least slip from being a No.1 option. So he’s got 3-4 years to change the perception that he’s a volume scorer with which you can’t win at any sort of siginificant level. Barring a trasenal’s players were going “crazy” after Sunday’s draw with Watford. The Gunners were up 2-0 at half-time but the hosts eventually clawed their way back to steal a point.And Leno has revealed how his teammates responded in the dressing room after thede to a real contender, do you see the improving enough in that time span to really alter the way we think of Melo?
The fascinating thing about Anthony is that he’s as accomplished within the scope of his generation as he is lacking when compared to his peers. He’s an eight-time All-Star, a six-time All- selection, and is 13th among active players in MVP-vote shares. He’s finished top-3 in points per game five times in his career. That’s a terrific resume. Melo can justifiably be called one of the best players of his generation. That’s a sufficiently vague qualification to reach him, but it’s still a level of performance most human beings never even sniff in any field.
The problem, of course, is when you really start to compare him to his contemporaries. Melo has the fewest win shares of any active player with eight All-Star appearances and has the sixth fewest win shares of any eight-time All-Star in NBA history. (Win Shares is a metric used by Basketball-Reference that estimates the number of wins contributed by a player. If Value Over Replacement Player is more your bag, he’s second-worst among active players with eight All-Star appearances, fourth-worst all-time. It’s very hard to spin the numbers in his favor, although he’s top-half in PER all-time among eight-time All-Stars. It helps to throw up shots for PER.)
Now, few players ever reach eight All-Star appearances, so that’s a tremendous accomplishment on its own. Carmelo Anthony is a Hall of Famer. There’s no question about that. However, at this point one thing has become clear: History is chasing Carmelo Anthony, not the other way around.
Anthony is in danger of falling through the cracks of history and winding up as a player left behind — a volume shooter who had some memorable moments, whose scoring acumen will be lauded by his peers, whose talent will forever remain unquestioned … but who ultimately won’t crack the all-time-great conversation. For most players, that would be OK, it’s a tough group to crack. Except Melo has always flirted with that tier. It was always assumed that his individual talent would eventually collide with a few seasons of real team success that together would define him as one of the game’s best. He came close in 2013 as the Knicks won 54 games and Anthony worked his way into the MVP conversation, but it’s hard to say he really made a historic impact that season. In the end, the Knicks were bounced in the second round.
In large part, since forcing his way to New York in a trade (while the n Smith insists his squad should be deep enough to handle injury absences.Villa have lost influential duo John McGinn and Tyrone Mings to injury in recent weeks and Smith says the onus must be on others to step up.“I have a squad of 22 players who Knicks somehow allowed Denver to rob them in the deal, because it’s the Knicks), Anthony’s career has been largely forgettable. That’s not to say he hasn’t been good. He has been, clearly. In recent years he’s been more efficient and given more effort on the boards. Tragically, his 2014 season was maybe the best of his career in terms of what he put into the game, but the game gave him nothing back that season as the 2013 team was proven a sham and completely fell apart, resulting in the arrival of Phil Jackson.
You want proof that history is getting dangerously close to forgetting about Anthony? Consider that blog Denver Stiffs unveiled a column last week featuring the best players at each position in their history. Anthony was undoubtedly a small forward in Denver, where he had the most success wins-wise in his career. Anthony’s only conference finals appearance in his career history came in 2009 with Denver. (Interesting note: Anthony wasn’t selected as an All-Star in 2009, and it was one of his lowest years statistically. He missed the game due to injury, though, and would have likely been selected otherwise.)
So did Anthony register as the best small forward in Denver history? Not according to Stiffs, which selected Alex English. That would seem preposterous to most modern-day fans without historical context. But when you look at the comparable . English shot 51 percent through his first 12 years, Anthony 46 percent. Anthony’s a better rebounder, English a better distributor. The only real difference, as you might expect… Anthony shot more, which is kind of impressive since we’re talking about Alex English here.
Did I mention English was four years older than Anthony in his 12th season?
because they didn’t delineate between the forward spots. That’s acceptable, Anthony has played in the post and as a power forward in lineups often enough, even in Denver, to justify moving him in there. But he’s not the best forward in Nuggets history. Think about that. No offense to the Nuggets, but we’re not exactly talking about a team riddled with starpower here. And Anthony isn’t even the best at his position, all-time.
The same problems occur when you compare him to Knicks history. Bernard King is an all-time great who Anthony is so often compared to because of their scoring acumen. And again, , King comes out on top. He was equal in every other phase of the game except scoring, and more efficient, despite the 3-point shot not having been implemented in his time. Once again, Anthony just got up more shots.
Even if you think beyond the numbers that Anthony was superior to English and King because he had the ball in his hands so often, or the difference in talent, or just because “I know what my eyes tell me,” — which is a terrible approach, by the way — he’s still only in that tier.
Again, Melo is a fantastic player. It should be noted that English was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. King, on the other hand, languished for decades waiting to be brought into the Hall before his induction in 2013. Basketball addicts know the names Alex English and Bernard King well and speak of them in glowing terms. They’re reserved for those conversations, though, not spoken of as the game’s true greats.
It shouldn’t be Melo’s fault that his draft class included LeBron James and , or that his friendship with those two impacts the conversation. But it does hang there. These guys are talked about in the same narratives, at least for now, and Melo just doesn’t measure up. Then there’s , and here’s where we hit “debatable” territory.
Our own . Last year Paul failed yet again to make the conference finals, keeping his total at zero, compared to Anthony’s 2009 appearance. A retort, however, might question whether Anthony has ever beaten a team as good as Paul did last year in the first round vs. the , on a bad hamstring no less. Or that Anthony played the past four seasons in the Eastern Conference, while Paul has battled at the toughest position in the toughest conference and for the last seven years has been viewed as one of, if not the best point guard in the league.
If Paul retired tomorrow, despite his playoff foibles, his contemporaries, fans and the media that covered him would call him the best point guard of his generation. Nobody would say the same thing about Melo as it pertains to forwards, certainly not since came into the league in 2007.
What makes this situation more distressing is not only the underwhelming state of the Knicks (which is a step-up from last year), but the opportunity Anthony had to correct course. His free agency in 2014 gave him the chance to pursue a winning environment. If you want to defend Anthony’s career, the place to start is his lack of a supporting cast. That 2009 Nuggets team’s second-best player (and best overall leader) was Chauncey Billups, post-Detroit. His best Knicks team featured after the injury reaper had come to sow the seeds of surgeries past, or , defensive stalwart but non-superstar.
Anthony could have gone to Houston with Harden and Howard. He could have joined Chicago with , a great coach (who would have driven him into the ground, but still) and a great supporting cast. He could have joined Rick Carlisle and in Dallas and saved both himself and Dirk from this late-career ignominy they face. Instead, whether it was love of his hometown, trust in Phil Jackson, or good ol’ fashioned financial intelligence, he returned to New York.
And then last year happened.
This year promises to be better. I tentatively have the Knicks slotted into the 8th seed, though I’m not even 50 percent confident in it. They have actual NBA talent in and , and the youngsters should be improved. Anthony will have nights where he dominates the highlight shows, where his YouTube clips will be mind-bending. Anthony will once again be relevant in NBA terms. His team won’t come anywhere near title contention, that’s clear, and it’s difficult to see a path that leads to his winning jewelry in New York within the next three seasons. The clock is ticking.
That’s why , . That’s why , a rebuilding team. It’s why so many people wonder what Carmelo Anthony, 31-year-old veteran superstar, is doing on a team that is trying to change its ways and slowly rebuild for the future. What’s the point of Melo on this Knicks team? To pad more statistics? To help transition New York to a future era of job as manager of Wales.Giggs helped Wales qualify for their second consecutive European Championships by beating Hungary this week.Ferguson, speaking at a fundraiser for international football charity Grassroot Soccer in London, said: “Ryan was alwasuccess he’ll never personally see?
The Knicks need a black swan to correct their trajectory, it’s the only thing that’s going to dramatically alter their title chances. reaching his highest Kevin Durant/Dirk Nowitzki hybrid immediately is their best and maybe only chance, but for Anthony, would this even work? Let’s face it, Melo has never been willing to be the complementary player in the NBA that he has been during his Team USA career — which by the way has been highly successful. He’s still trying to win on his terms, and the very specific conditions that would allow for that tp happen are running out of time to develop.
Maybe Melo doesn’t care about these things. He’ll always be remembered in New York as a great basketball player, and he’s made more money than most people could ever dream of making. He’s married and has a son; there’s more to life than basketball. He has repeatedly made it clear, like most players, that he doesn’t care what media or columns like this one say about him. Anthony came from unbelievable struggles in Baltimore as a child to be the man he is today. Who cares if he’s better than Alex English? But players do consider their legacy, it’s pretty clear in every Hall of Fame induction how much it matters. Players want to be remembered as great.
Every game, every minute, is building toward the end of Melo’s career now, and away from his apex. He can still be considered in his prime, but not for long. This wouldn’t even be a conversation for most players; that alone is proof of how talented and good Anthony is. He has the ability to be a player worthy of legend. Whether that’s as a No. 1 option or “alpha dog” is another discussion, but the talent is undeniably there. For Carmelo Anthony to conquer history’s pull on his cape towards “good, not great,” something has to change soon. Father Time’s undefeated, but there’s still time for Anthony to choose how that battle ends.
Where does Melo go from here?