Originally written May 21, 2013 on Helmet and Pads Required:
About three years ago, I heard Charles Barkley on the NBA on TNT post game show make a statement about Joe Johnson, now of the Brooklyn Nets, when Joe was a member of the Atlanta Hawks. “If Joe Johnson is the best player on your team, you’re not going far.” – Charles Barkley Funny thing about that quote is Charles was right on the money. Fast forward to today and you could very well say the same can be said about Carmelo Anthony. In fact you can flat out say that at this point in his career, and there is nothing he has done to make this statement not apply to him. Yes, Carmelo is definitely better than Joe Johnson, by far…..but his results/success makes you question that. For a player who has been labeled a “superstar”, he has yet to do anything “superstar” like. His playoff record and lack of consistent “superstar-like” performances in the playoffs solidifies it. Previous to this year, Melo had only gotten out of the first round of the playoffs just once out of 9 tries. Each time, he was the best player on the team. The assumed “superstar” that was suppose to lead his team on a post season run that wasn’t suppose to end in the first round. Some may not realize this, but Carmelo virtually has the exact same first round playoff success or lack thereof, as Tracy McGrady. Yes…..Tracy freaking McGrady……let that sink in for a minute…….. McGrady, another NBA player who was labeled a “superstar” but rarely displayed superstar-like qualities when it mattered most, could fill it up with the best of them. At one point in his career, there was a legit debate over who was better, Tracy McGrady or Kobe Bryant? That said, until this season, McGrady had only gotten out of the first round of the playoffs just once. The year that his team (2009 Houston Rockets) did so, he was injured but was listed on the playoff roster. Now i do realize that basketball is a team sport and Melo can’t do it all on his own. However it’s not like Melo has had horrible teams. Maybe they weren’t championship contender type teams. But they were teams that had the talent to get out of the first round of the playoffs. Several NBA superstars that have had teams with equal or less talent of some of Melo’s teams, have found a way to get out of the first round of the playoffs on a regular, if not semi regular basis. Bottom line, Carmelo Anthony is not a superstar as he has been labeled his entire career. A star? Yes. A top 10 player with big time endorsements and his own shoe like a superstar? Yes. But in reality, he isn’t a superstar. A true superstar makes plays when his or her team needs them to do so. As the old saying goes, “Big time players make big time plays.” That’s just something Melo doesn’t do when he needs too or should. When you analyze Melo, he is a big-time scorer who is very streaky at times and can have the occasional big game or so when he is hot. He doesn’t make his teammates better nor has the ability to affect a game in any way besides scoring. There is nothing wrong with being a player like this, but a player like this isn’t a legit superstar. Legit Superstars are guys like Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. Carmelo is basically a glorified one way player/scorer who can only do one thing…..score. Not every player who can “get buckets” is a superstar. But in this day and age, seems like that’s the label people want to give cats who can fill it up almost at will, but not when it counts and its ‘win or go home” time. I’m sure New York Knicks and Melo fans are probably saying “his career isn’t over; he can get better and eventually become a real “superstar”. Ummmm, nope! Won’t happen. To steal another quote from Charles Barkley, “After 7 years or longer of playing in any pro sport, you are the player you are.” Some of you may bring up the fact that Amare Stoudemire was injured. Amare definitely may have helped, but then again, ever since Melo has been in New York, he and Amare haven’t played well together. With that being the case, I don’t think a healthy Amare would have made much of a difference in his year’s playoffs. So don’t hold your breath Knick/Melo fans. This is about as good as it’s going to get with Melo. Not saying he can’t win it all one day, but he won’t win it all being the best player on the team.
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