There’s a tendency when talking about athletes to focus more on what they can’t do, than what they can. It’s a tendency that’s seems exasperated when discussing Carmelo Anthony, something I’ve been as guilty of as anyone.
Maybe it’s because Anthony’s arrival seemed to break something that was being slowly constructed. It’s as though we’d been working on a complicated jigsaw puzzle and Anthony walked in and stepped all over it, forcing us to kind of start over and then complaining about how we’d been building it to begin with. It doesn’t matter that the puzzle we’d been working on was probably hopelessly flawed, some of us were just like, “Hey, I was working on that.”
But all athletes have weaknesses — except maybe LeBron, but he is after all a cyborg sent from the future to destroy us — or parts of their game that work better than others. The fact that Anthony sometimes loses focus on defense, or forces things on offense doesn’t make the rest of his game completely worthless. I can empathize with Anthony’s frustration in interpreting the criticism as, “Wait, so the problem is I score TOO MUCH? So I should score LESS?” Well yeah, sort of.
And yet, maybe the criticism has served its purpose. You have to love the way Carmelo has started the season. He looks more decisive on the offensive end, less prone to those 15-second jab-step river dances, while clearly determined to put to rest the idea that he’s a liability on defense once and for all. He’s also reminding people that he’s a pretty underrated rebounder, particularly when he’s fully engaged.
Which is to say, it’s just been a really great and encouraging start for the Knicks’ best player, and one that’s kind of making me regret all the highly emotional and unintelligent things I’ve ever said about the guy. He’s been all kinds of awesome, hope it continues.