Now before anyone gets all excited, Carmelo Anthony isn’t the self- appointed LeBron James-type of king. But what Melo is to the Knicks is the second coming of former NBA and Knicks legend, Bernard King who Melo did idolize as a child. Of course by the time Melo was playing basketball as a youngster, King was all but retired, but when you’re from Brooklyn and you’re known for hooping it up the way it should be done, your name will travel like light.
Melo provides the Knicks (as a small forward) the type of beastly and unconscious scoring that hasn’t been seen in these parts in decades. Sure, others have tried: Charles Smith who, by way of an experiment of former coach Pat Riley, was shoved into that roll. Smith, though, was 6-11 and 250 pounds. That’s not considered small by any measurement. Then there was the super muscular Anthony Mason at 6-foot-7, who was as wide as he was tall. Neither one of those players was as gifted and talented as scorers as King or Melo.
The Knicks did give up two promising small forwards in Wilson Chandler and Danilo Galinari, but that’s old hat now. Besides, neither one had the scoring punch that Melo provides. And even if they were to average 20 points per game in a season or two or even three, there’s also a time when you do the scoring that counts.
If you were to take all of the 20-point scorers in the league, how many of those scorers are truly game-on-the-line point producers. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and Melo are the two best at closing out games with ten seconds or less. There’s nobody better at scoring the ball to win the game than the aforementioned gentlemen. And they do it dagger style.
They can post up, shoot the mid-range jumper and even shoot the 3-point shot. And speaking of 3-pointers, Melo has of late been deadly from out there. There have even been a couple of shots that he took and made from what seemed like Denver. His range is almost illegal and as Coach Mike D’Antoni said, “once he really gets that shot down he’s going to be dangerous.” As if he’s not already.
Melo puts fear in the hearts of his opponents. That makes a difference in the Playoffs when there’s a game to be won in a series. What was lost in the trade was a lot, but what was gained isn’t something that can be compared. You win games in the NBA with role players, but you win championships with stars. Melo is one of the biggest in the league.
The Knicks are back in the NBA Playoffs after a seven-year drought. Power forward and fellow superstar Amare Stoudemire declared upon his arrival this past summer, “the Knicks are back!” Melo just helped Stoudemire’s words (like a good teammate) come to pass.
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