I’d like to congratulate Carmelo Anthony on his 62 points. He’s been under a lot of heat of late, and his outburst versus the less-than-formidable Charlotte Bobcats showed you exactly what “Melo” brings to the table; moments of flash in contrast to tangible production.
That’s right, I’m poo-pooing Friday night’s effort in which Mr. Anthony displayed his undeniable ability to score, in an effort to keep you from falling for the “banana in the tailpipe” regarding NBA lore: The foolhardy notion that points relate directly to winning.
Certainly, points on their own are winning. After all, he with the most points by nature is in fact the winner. However, points independent of the success of those around you, fails to equate to winning at the ultimate level and essentially separates genuine winners from players who look good in a box score or Sportscenter highlight reel.
In 2003, Carmelo was drafted third overall by the Denver Nuggets. Prior to that year’s draft, there was legitimate debate as to whether or not “Melo” would be a better pick then eventual number-1 LeBron James…you’ve probably heard of him. Forget that Darko Milicic was taken by Detroit between the two, but focus more so on the idiocy contemplating between LeBron and Carmelo now seems to be. One has two NBA Championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player awards, two Finals MVP’s, seven All-NBA First Team awards, and five NBA All-Defensive First Team awards. The other…doesn’t. One took a team of no-names (the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers) to an NBA Finals, the other has made it past the first round of the playoffs twice in his 11-year NBA career. And one, simply understands what makes a great player, while the other is consumed by the notion that scoring on its own masks the inefficiencies of an otherwise one-dimensional player.
That’s right, Carmelo Anthony is a one-dimensional player. He can’t (or won’t) play defense, wouldn’t know an assist if John Stockton gave him a 2-hour dissertation on one, and while averaging 9.1 rebounds per game, is 55th in the league in rebounds-per-48 minutes.
It’s been said that the game against Charlotte was Carmelo’s defining moment as a Knick, I agree. His 62 points against an also-ran of the league reminds me of what he is, as well as what he isn’t: A scorer built to impress the low-brow fan, while simultaneously disappointing the people who understand what truly defines winning.
Following Sunday’s win over the hapless Los Angeles Lakers, Melo asserted “I just want to do what it takes to win.” Really? If that’s the case, maybe you should consider playing some “D,” creating opportunities for your teammates, and sacrificing the parts for the sake of the sum. But that’s just it, he doesn’t understand the difference between scoring and contributing, and he certainly doesn’t understand how both independently relate to winning.
Carmelo Anthony is an all-star talent. Few can match his God-given acumen, his ability to score…period, and his belief in what he’s capable of on the basketball court. But there’s a difference between being an All-Star and playing like one. One looks good on a weekend afternoon in a game with little defense, and the other can be found holding a trophy on a late June evening, with teammates indebted to the All-Star who makes them all better.
Again, congratulations on a great game. It’s not easy to score 62 points and definitely not easy to do so on 22-35 shooting, but just like one game doesn’t make you a bad player, one game fails to make you a winner…it’s the 11 year NBA resume that takes care of that.