Carmelo Anthony: A Star Only on the Stat Sheet
Ball Stopper and/or King of Isolation.
These are two very telling terms I use in reference to Carmelo Anthony.
Before I start criticizing Carmelo and his horrid postseason record, let me preface this article by fully admitting that Carmelo Anthony is a star in his own right but not the type of player who will lift a team to a championship-caliber plane.
Look at his statistics. They're simply eye-popping. Over an illustrious eight-year career, Anthony has averaged a phenomenal 25 points per game. His greatest asset is his ability to score. He has a scorer's mentality that won't fade. His craftiness on the offensive end enables him to pile up points almost effortlessly. When Anthony is on fire, he is absolutely one of the most difficult forwards in the league to contain.
However, despite his offensive prowess, each and every team he's helped led to the postseason has had mild to zero success.
I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and state that the majority of his teams -- going in to each opening playoff round -- have been the underdog. Anthony really hasn't had a solid supporting cast. Usually, a dominating and successful NBA team needs two key players to stay in contention. Anthony, aside from a short stint with Allen Iverson, has lacked that significant sidekick.
Regardless of his putrid postseason record -- 23-42 -- I feel as though a headliner should be more than just a scorer. He should possess the necessary intangibles to propel his team to some kind of significant success.
For this reason, I feel Anthony is a superficial player. On paper, he wows you, but he's not a leader by any means. He takes no accountability, and until recently, rarely played even a shred of defense. (You can thank Duke and USA Hoops coach Mike Krzyzewski for actually defining and instilling the idea of defense into him).
Anthony has a way of stagnating ball movement on his teams. Specifically designed isolation plays are called for him, which impedes the flow of the offense. The four other Knicks on the floor with him seemingly convert from active participants to paying audience members once he gets the ball.
This has been happening for years now, and for some reason, head coaches believe tit's by far the best way to utilize Anthony's skillset. The harsh fact, though, is it hinders the rest of the team. Anthony gets his, but it comes at a cost, and that cost far outweighs the gain.
So yes, if you look at Anthony's body of work individually, he's always performed the way he conditioned himself to perform.
Collectively, though, his postseason record is dreadful, and that's a fact. Stars will their teams to victory, and -- even when overmatched -- they find a way to outplay and out-contest their opponents. Did Lebron James have anyone worth noting while he steered the Cavs to the playoffs during his first NBA final appearance? No, but he did get the most out of each and everyone of his teammates.
The last Knick to do that was the legendary Willis Reed, who got the job done in the 1970 championship Game 7 by just making an appearance:
Imagine. Raising his teammates' level of play by only scoring four points!
Carmelo Anthony isn't even in the same galaxy as that.