As the first quarter of the 2012 / 2013 NBA season zooms past, one story has dominated (aside from the Epic Failure of the Lakers and their coaching changes) and that is, without question the return of the New York Knicks to basketball relevancy. The key to the team has been their superstar, Carmelo Anthony – a man who has a huge upside, and just as large downside. How can we accurately access whether or not the Knicks are for real as a contender without taking a closer look at the two, warring sides of Melo.
– Melo is without doubt one of the ten best players in the league when he wants to be.
– He has proven (mostly in the Olympics) that he has the ability to coexist with high quality teammates for short periods of time and run a high octane, shoot the lights out offense.
– He can score at will and has no qualms about taking a big shot in a big moment.
– Loves the spotlight and is basically perfectly suited to the pressures of playing in New York; which he even admitted are present in an off season interview with Esquire Magazine. He has said he understands he is the player with the most pressure on him to succeed and win a title, something many observers felt had bypassed him and moved on to CP3 or Dwight Howard.
– Won an NCAA Title and does indeed know what it takes to win on some level.
– Dwight Howard usurped his title as the biggest idiot in the game and had a longer and even more protracted divorce from Orlando than Melo did from Denver.
– Could win it all if the Knicks keep it up.
– At some point he will revert to the “ISO Stat Ball” player we all know and love. This is of course when he cares about nothing aside from his own stats, especially at the expense of his own team.
– Has proven time and again that he is only out for himself (had to go to NYC, had to beat out Amare, could not coexist with Lin etc.)
– Is a ball stopper on an offense that is working because of ball movement.
– Never cared about playing defense and is really just a scorer who has little other all around skills.
– Was a brief “Double Ewing Theory” Candidate when the Nuggets suddenly became awesome without him and then the Knicks did the same with Linsanity (remember the “should the Knicks trade Melo for Dwight” question which seemed legit?)
– Has never won anything meaningful in the NBA.
– Even though Howard now looks like the bigger d-bag, Melo did have a long and drawn out “trade me to NYC or else” thing going for 7 months in which he killed a team in Denver that could have been legitimate contenders. Again, they were much, much better without him.
– Has won one playoff game in the past several years.
Which Melo will we see going forward – the Melo who knows what it takes / what it means to win, or the Melo who only wants to see his name in the lights with 40 points and a Knicks loss?