Is Carmelo Anthony too much of a 'ball hog' to win a title?
|"Don't worry Jeff, I'm not passing."|
He’s probably going to shoot the Knicks past the Celtics in the first round of these NBA playoffs. But he’s not going to be an NBA champion. He’s not one of the all-time greats. He appears to be incapable of doing anything to help his team unless he has the ball in his hands. He plays like an only child. He cannot share the ball. He knows he’s better than all of his teammates and he plays like a man intent on doing it all by himself. He either has the basketball, or he’s demanding the basketball.
Based on watching Game 1, this is a very reasonable assessment. Carmelo put up 36 points while shooting 13-29 from the field, and as Shaughnessy notes at one point missed 15 of 20 attempts. He recorded his one and only assist in the final minute of play. Amazingly he outscored his fellow New York starters 36-16 (Iman Shumpert had only 3, while Chris Copeland and Tyson Chandler were both held without a point), and the other 4 of them took a total of just 18 shots combined.
Shaughnessy also points out that Anthony's teams have lost in the first round of the playoffs 8 of 9 times, and despite leading the NBA in scoring this year (28.7 PPG) he also averaged just 2.6 assists per game. For the ten previous seasons the league's scoring leaders' (Kevin Durant 2009-11, Dwyane Wade 2008, LeBron 2007, Kobe 2005-06, Allen Iverson 2004, and Tracy McGrady 2002-03) cumulative assist average has been 5.25; with Durant's 2.7 APG in 2010 the lowest, and Iverson's 7.9 in 2004 the highest.
I don't think anybody (outside of New York) would consider the current edition of the Carmelo led Knicks a serious title contender, and it's likely they never will be with the way Anthony dominates the ball. For him to win a championship he may need to take on a secondary (or even smaller) role as a more mature veteran player on a team with an established number one option.
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