I could never say Carmelo Anthony is a quitter. I could never say Melo doesn’t have talent. I can say Carmelo is a team killer (in the NBA).
Anthony played last season for the Oklahoma City Thunder and averaged 16.2 points per game along with 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Do those numbers overwhelm you? Not in the least bit, and this is a man who was the third option on the Thunder. Having played many seasons as the lead man with other teams, he didn’t pass the eye test either last season.
Carmelo draws comparisons to Terrell Owens because he has never won a championship (or even been to one) in his career. On his third team, he never brought the New York Knicks or Thunder any great playoff success prior to joining the Thunder. Owens played for five teams and was a talent that could never reach his precipice. T.O. also played in a Super Bowl with the Eagles (2004-2005) but lost to the New England Patriots 24-21. Without even the luxury of going to a NBA Finals, Carmelo is a player that I don’t despise, but is someone I don’t ultimately respect.
Anthony played for Syracuse in the 2002-2003 season and won a National Championship being the lead man. At 18 years old, the kid was a stud and looked like he was poised to have the world by the cojones. Being selected 3rd in the NBA Draft (behind LeBron James and Darko Milicic) he is a player that you would think would have been on a potential championship roster by now. Milicic should have never been the number two pick, so Anthony gets off a little easier having been drafted where he was. LeBron never went to college and Milicic never did either so Melo was seemingly the most “polished” player drafted in 2003.
Being the #1 with the Denver Nuggets and Knicks, Carmelo was a selfish ball hog. The type of player that would take a 3 pointer at any opportunity, unwilling to sacrifice for his team. Carmelo averaged 28.9 points with the Nuggets (2006-2007) and 28.7 points with the Knicks in the 2012-2013 season. Both of those teams made the playoffs but never even sniffed the Western Conference Finals or Eastern Conference Finals.
The most games Carmelo has played in one playoff run was 16 for the Nuggets in the 2008-2009 season. That team won both of the first of its series’ 4-1 playing against the New Orleans Hornets in the first round and the Dallas Mavericks in the Semifinals. After looking that dominant, the Anthony lead Nuggets went on to lose in the Western Conference Finals in a 4-2 series against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers eventually went on to beat the Magic in the NBA Finals (4-1) but that is not the point. In his best chance in the playoffs, Carmelo couldn’t even push a team to a 7-game series.
The 08-09 Nuggets had several decent players on the roster as well. Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Juwan Howard and a young JR Smith to name a few. A true #1 player (see LeBron James) could bring a group like that to the NBA Finals. Iverson (12 seasons), Billups (11 seasons), and Howard (14 seasons) all were aging veterans at that point but that is no excuse. Fans of Carmelo cannot debate the facts.
The 34 year old Anthony agreed to his player option for the upcoming season at a cool $27.9 million. An absolute money move (Shoutout Cardi B) Anthony would not have gotten that money anywhere else. At best, Anthony is a fourth option now who was being asked to be a third option alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George last season. Anthony doesn’t even create off the dribble as much as he used to which makes things very complicated in Oklahoma City. George is likely to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers so the Thunder won’t even have as much talent as last season.
The best of Carmelo Anthony’s career is behind him. He will never win an NBA Championship and he has no one to blame but himself. He was never willing to sacrifice his own achievements in order for his team to have success. If money wasn’t such a priority he could easily have said no to the player option and signed with a more likely playoff team for less money. Carmelo will go down as one of the biggest mysteries in sports. A man who may have had great intentions but always took his team down with him-one way or another.