Anthony, Knicks On A Familiar Path?


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks could win 48 straight games and Anthony would still have critics who could find something wrong with his game.

That’s just the world we live in and the one Anthony has had to survive in since he came into the league with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others in the celebrated NBA Draft class of 2003.

A league-best eight-game win streak, in the wake of the Miami Heat’s 27-game streak and the Denver Nuggets’ 15-game streak, would normally be plenty to be excited about. Anthony and the Knicks, however, are taking it all in stride. A rugged playoff road lies ahead and they know it. But the potential to dispel notions about who and what this team is about, to redefine who Anthony is as a player, in relation to his Draft class peers as well as the larger scope of the league, could be on the horizon.

With his contemporaries enjoying loads more playoff success than he had during his career, this Knicks team in particular offers Anthony an opportunity to close that gap a little.

For years, Anthony’s critics have made their case … that Anthony’s not an elite leader, he’s not a big-time playoff performer (as the Prime Minister likes to remind me regularly) and that he wasn’t willing to sacrifice what he does best (score) for the greater good. I’ve always argued the other side, that those teams he led in Denver were never quite as stout as they appeared on paper.

The one time they had all of the required parts healthy and ready to go in the playoffs, they made their run to the 2009 Western Conference finals, where they fell to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. The Lakers, of course, went on to win the first of back-to-back titles that year.

Those championships, sans Shaquille O’Neal, helped redefine Kobe’s legacy.

Might Anthony be on a somewhat familiar path to redefining his own legacy this season? At least one observer thinks so. Harvey Araton of The New York Times makes the case for Anthony following in the transformative footsteps of Boston Celtics enigma-turned-superstar Paul Pierce, whose image and reputation changed dramatically after the Celtics broke through and won a championship in 2008 with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen:

With the Knicks poised to displace the Celtics as Atlantic Division champions after beating them, 108-89, on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, this would be a propitious time to present Pierce as Exhibit A in the case for Anthony’s potential growth into no-questions-asked superstardom.

Anthony’s critics, including me, have never underestimated his combustible package of size, strength and first-step speed. But his teams in Denver and in New York have produced poor playoff results, and he has admitted to failing to fully grasp the essence of collective elegance until last summer’s Olympics.

Isn’t it fair to say that when it comes to winning at the highest level, Anthony is still an undergraduate student trying to complete a master’s program?

Pierce captured his championship in 2008 after he sacrificed more than 5 points off his scoring average from the previous season to accommodate Allen and Garnett. He also embraced the defensive tenacity brought by Garnett and preached by Tom Thibodeau, who then was an assistant to Doc Rivers.

“You may need that one person in someone’s life, or something to happen off the floor in that person’s life, family-wise, or something,” Rivers said before Pierce gave him 24 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists, not enough against the streaking Knicks, winners of eight straight. “You just never know what triggers a player to play and do all the right things.”

Before their title season, the Celtics’ best playoff run with Pierce was in 2002, when they were beaten by Jason Kidd and the Nets in the Eastern Conference finals. Pierce was 24, the same age Anthony was when his Nuggets lost in the Western Conference finals to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009.

A coincidence, for sure, but the Pierce-Anthony comparison of 20-something high-octane, low-team-grade forwards is no novel concept. While Anthony was contriving his endgame in Denver two and a half years ago, reporters and bloggers noted the same crossroads that Pierce had reached in Boston after the 2006-7 season, and how he had warned the Celtics to improve the roster, or else.

The Celtics delivered and, to his everlasting credit, Pierce responded. Although Anthony chose a different path, forcing a trade, he is approaching his 29th birthday, on May 29, with still much to prove, and gain, similar to Pierce at that age.

Unlike Pierce and the Celtics, there is an Eastern Conference and NBA juggernaut standing in the path of Anthony and the Knicks. The Heat aren’t going anywhere any time soon. And much like those Bryant-led Lakers teams that were always blocking the way for Anthony’s Nuggets teams, these LeBron-led Heat teams will likely be in the way now and for at least the foreseeable future.

That will make things substantially tougher for the Anthony to complete his career rewrite, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible …


  1. waltwilliams55 says:

    Live and die by the jumpshot, is the knicks game. As a melo fan turn lebron fan, melo has the best offensive arsenal in basketball. He cannot, however, take his team to a chip, slows the pace of the game way down, and is lazy on defense. Call it being a hater all you want, but the dude is a glorified Joe Johnson.

  2. Esteban says:

    He’s an elite player, without a championship ring. An amazing player without a ring means he’s not good enough, or he’s not making enough effort. People really think like an 8 year old kid with Down Syndrome. I don’t care if Carmelo never get a ring or even if LeBron wouldnt have won a ring. They are some of the best players I’ve ever seen.

  3. Reality says:

    Melo will be LeBron’s Charles Barkley … big competitor witrh no ring ever

  4. blue_greedn says:

    Come to Miami Melo..LBJ, D Wade and CB are waiting for you…

  5. george says:

    i have been a knicks fan since ewing go knicks we are gonna win it all

  6. sillywilly says:

    The Heat r built to accomodate LeBrons gm better than any team he has been on..including their team last yr..the reason id give the ball to LeBron n the final 10 seconds is because u kno he will make the RIGHT bball play EVERY SINGLE TIME not just jack up a contested triple teamed jumper like the rest of them LeBron absorbs contact like no other player and most of the time due to his strength usually still makes the bucket..he is robably the toughest to gaurd n the league..but as a bball fan i respect Melos gm cuz he has an effective mid and long range jumpshot and he is aggresive when he attacks the basket..but u have to b able to lock n defensively to win a championship the Knicks dnt have that yet.

  7. Sebastian Moreno says:

    too much negative critics here……. let’s see in the playoffs and in the championship……..

  8. Ricardo says:

    Cheat are garbage just like their fans.

  9. meloallday says:

    who cares on what y’all say. they’re the ones getting paid, not you guys

  10. HEAT FAN says:

    Knicks are garbage. They will NEVER be a champion.

  11. thekidtrust says:

    I’m a knicks fan and what they need is rebounding,I agree with NBAfan but when like superstar teams makes runs knicks need points as well as rebounds as well as 50/50balls, a little defense. Win al thes n you have a championship period!

  12. Longtime Knick Fan says:

    Too much focus on Melo in terms of a Knick championship. They’ll never win the championship with all of the focus on him. The recent addition of Kenyon Martin who supplies fire and defense, the emergence of JR Smith attacking the basket and playing extraordinary defense, the steadiness of Jason Kidd and the incredible depth of this team (practically two starting teams) along with Melo’s being better able to play team basketball while continuing to supply 20 to 30 or more points per game, along with his rebounding skills, should make the Knicks a real contender for the NBA championship THIS YEAR, regardless of LBJ. I like the recent 20:1 odds against the Knicks winning it all.

  13. Boere says:

    Who the hell is the Prime Minister?

  14. King Breaker says:

    Hey ‘Fan’ when has Melo lost his temper other than when KG got inside his head? We all know that was KG’s fault and that he has been behaving this way for years. We all remember what KG did to Timmy but we also remember Timmy’s four rings (championships not Cherrios) Melo plays with fire, nothing wrong with that just ask the Mamba.

  15. BHarrison says:

    I’ve been a carmelo fan since he was drafted, and I believe he’s a winner, He’s got an NCAA chip and 2 gold medals. The knicks however, i think they can get to the conference finals this year but i doubt they’ll go any further. I think Anthony has finally got a decent team around him for a strong playoff run. His work ethic and defense have been amazing this year. Dont forget the knicks blew out the heat twice this season, and once without melo…so it’s gonna be interesting once the knicks are healthy

    • Dont ever click AHOLE says:

      Just wanna ask…have you seen the difference of the Heat before their streak and during their streak. If you didn’t u might wanna see the difference when they flip their switch

  16. NBAfan says:

    Carmelo is an offensive beast. That’s why you need Chandler and his defense, but then you’ll need a 3 or 4 that can grab rebounds like there’s no tomorrow to have a complete front line. How about Reggie Evans?

  17. This bruno from BORAT says:

    @Willy Are you sure LBJ will bolt out on MIAMI??? LBJ gave and wasted 7 long years doing it alone in cleveland…. All cavs can do is provide him an aging Shaq, useless Jamison, Mo??? MIAMI provides him great HELP… Battier,Allen,Birdman.Miller… If your club demands too much out of you, you may also demand a great help… Clubs,Organization,Team comes with give and take relationship, You cannot always put LOYALTY into it and then everything will be Okay… Ask baby Bryant… You think Kobe will stay long if the lakers didn’t Bought great help…. Pau Gasol.. Then they added Ron Artest…. 2 titles for the lakers…. LBJ going back to CAVS??? Why???

  18. Willy says:

    Any true NBA fan appreciates the offense skills of CA! His size and strength up there with Lebrain. The pieces they have placed around CA are good but they are not holding up. Need another 6’10” sprinter off the bench. Ask the majority of the fans who they would prefer in the finals, maybe the Knicks? Already tired of the Heat and they are done after next year anyway. Very similar to a Premier League soccer team, pay cash, make the team good for two or three then tear it apart! No loyalty there.

  19. Amit says:

    Knicks will win nba finals 2013

  20. Just saying says:

    At least melo plays straight up and absorbs contact even if no fouls are called,not like these so called elite superstars like lebron,wade,bosh,durant and Paul who flops a lot to get fouls…

  21. c says:

    melo is a beast, go knicks

  22. sanjay says:

    well how about anthony joining lebron? That could work!

  23. Terrence says:

    As a life long Knicks fan!!! Anthony is on pace to make noise this year in the playoffs. If Anthony and the Knicks can get healthy for the playoffs, they have a team built to make a run… When compared to these other stars, These other stars have great players on the team.. Now Anthony has great players on his side. Players who can create and defend. Players who can match up against other great teams. Anthony and the Knicks put the NBA on notice… Anthony will step up and knock down big shots and play defense!!!!

  24. NBA4LIFE says:

    You are obviously a Miami fan, you really need to be unbias to fully understand anthony’s game which is different then durant and lbj

  25. Fan says:

    Melo has potential but could never lead a team because his temper gets the better of him. Unfortunately he is another two years away from reaching the appropriate level of maturity for the role

  26. Sebastian says:

    I hope Anthony can lead the Knicks to a championship. I know it’s tough, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

  27. Kamote says:

    Anthony has the tools to be an elite player, he just needs some maturity regarding his defense, team play and overall competitiveness (not just trying to outscore the opposing team). As with LBJ who got to get over with his “choking-at-end-games” flaw, Anthony should win over his weaknesses to become a force in the NBA. Hopefully he won’t end up like the top players before like TMac and VCarter who just fell short into greatness.

    • KunJayMaster says:

      Just like the Michael Jordan era, so many great players deserved a ring and never were able to get it because he dominated the league for like a decade. Exact same thing here at this point something has to go very wrong for the Heat not to repeat and even down the road is hard to see Carmelo or Durant winning championships when Lebron’s domination is on its prime.

      PS. Unless of course Lebron does something dumb like..i don’t know..go back to Cleveland?

      • i did wut says:

        Kevin Durant is overshadowed by Lebron just like Clyde Drexel was by MJ.

      • Sam says:

        if theres anybody lebron has to watch out for in the east its either the knicks or bulls. lbj is good but he will never be amongst kobe bryant, micheal jordan, magic johnson, etc. And the reason is that if there is 10 seconds left in the game, all you have to do is give it to jordan, kobe, etc. and watch them win. lebrons not like that. and dont say he creates his teammates shots on the last second because thats just stupid, he is obviously the best player on miami and if the games on the line, youd want your best player to score

      • Dont ever click AHOLE says:

        @Sam so you’re basically saying, when it comes to the final 10 seconds. Its all about superstars… I have one thing to say: Teammates. To me as long as they get the job done its all good… my opinion

  28. thisiseku says:

    There are 100 reasons to complain about ‘Melo’s game, because he’s not very efficient when he scores 30 pints on 30 shots.