From Arnav: Can Carmelo Anthony be the best player on a title winning team?
Sam SpiegelmanWithout a doubt, Anthony can be the best player of a championship team. However, it’s not as easy at it may sound.
With a player like LeBron James — unquestionably the best all-around player in basketball — a championship was not handed to him simply because of his skill-set. James was arguably the best player in the league in Cleveland, and despite numerous trips into the playoffs, was unable to close.
James needed to relocate to Miami and be surrounded by an able cast of characters in order to make a playoff run and earn his first NBA title. There is no question James was the best player on the team during both championships, but at times he was picked up by Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, etc.
It’s a similar situation for Anthony, who in Denver nearly willed the Nuggets past the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Anthony was far and away the best player on the Nuggets back then, and during those playoffs had a team that looked like it was capable of competing for a title, but he was simply outmatched by Kobe Bryant and the Lakers’ star-studded squad.
In New York, the team is assembled around Anthony’s skill-set. Tyson Chandler provides the interior defense, while J.R. Smith serves as a second scoring option and perimeter-shooting threat, and Raymond Felton is the point guard needed to distribute.
Thus far, however, the formula has failed the produce the desired results.
Whatever moves or changes the Knicks make — be it a different coach, personnel, etc. — Anthony is the caliber player that can an NBA Finals MVP. He’s an elite scorer, an able rebounder, and at times has stepped up defensively and stymied the other teams’ best player.
But just like Kevin Durant or James while in Cleveland or Bryant on those lowly Lakers squads, Anthony has yet to hit his stride with the right group of players around during a playoff run. Nobody can doubt Anthony’s talents, and we’ve seen him take over games time and time again. But often one player shoulders the blame when his team fails to go deep in the postseason, and that one player is the star of the team, which in this case is Carmelo Anthony.