Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter
The way Oscar Robertson sees it, Carmelo Anthony will never be appreciated with the Knicks and should leave New York.
“Wherever that kid’s gone, when he was at Denver, they had a team that fooled around with the ball, fooled around with the ball, then all of the sudden when they needed a basket, threw it to Carmelo,” Robertson told Spike Lee on his SiriusXM NBA Radio program. “Then, when he shot the ball, they said he shot too much. Then, when he didn’t shoot, they said he didn’t shoot enough. No matter what he does in New York, they’re going to criticize him, the people are going to criticize him, because you got guys on [the Knicks] that just cannot play.”
The Big O’s advice to Melo: leave.
“If I were Carmelo, I would say, ‘Listen, I’m not gonna stay here and take all this gruff and all this criticism. You got other guys on the team making $12, $15, $16 million and doing nothing, and here I am averaging 28, 29 points per game,'” Robertson said.
Knicks President Phil Jackson said Wednesday he hopes Anthony will stay true to his word and take less than max money to remain with the Knicks so they can add other players around him.
Meantime, Chicago and Houston are expected to pursue Anthony, especially if the Bulls are bounced in the first round.
“If he goes to Houston, they’re gonna win everything,” Robertson said. “You look at LeBron, LeBron’s got a great game, Durant’s got a great game – they can’t out-shoot Carmelo.”
Robertson believes Anthony is a better scorer than Durant — and that he takes too much heat.
“I’m telling you right now,” Robertson said, “the kid, he can just get that shot away. He’s gotten smarter, he’s going to the basket a lot.”
“What gets me,” Robertson added, “everyone thinks that everything that happens bad is [Anthony’s] fault.”
But here’s something to keep in mind: before LeBron James won a title, he was ripped by critics to no extent. People would criticize LeBron for the same reasons until he got to the NBA Finals and finally hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The same goes for Kevin Durant, who has taken less slack since bringing the Thunder to the Finals, but now can at least boast an MVP trophy on his mantle.
While Melo has long been a superstar, he doesn’t have an MVP trophy and hasn’t been able to lift his team to the Finals. So perhaps harsh criticism isn’t deserved, but both Durant and James had to play through it before they took the next step forward.
As for Robertson’s suggestion to flea to New York — I just don’t get it.
Melo isn’t getting criticized because he plays for the Knicks. He gets criticized because he’s the best player on an underachieving team.
Would the Rockets be a better team with Melo? I don’t think so. He and James Harden would be in a tussle for shots, unless someone is willing to be downgraded to that Robin role, and isn’t that why Harden left OKC in the first place? Oh, and there’s a highly paid center in the middle who is going to need his touches as well. There’s not enough balls to go around in Houston for that proposed big three.
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.