Carmelo Anthony Speaks, But Nobody Should Listen

LeBron James is off the hook – for now, at least. Up next is Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and others. We’ll inevitably belittle their otherwise magnificent careers until they win it all. But let’s focus on ‘Melo for a moment (who we’ve already talked a bit about in the latest Smack) and a recent statement he made:

Via the New York Post:

“‘I believe my time is coming,'” Anthony said after posing with the statue with his wife La La at a press conference. ‘I’m a big believer in that. Whether this year or next year, I truly believe our time is coming. We’re going to keep playing for that.'”

This is ‘Melo pedaling the edible NBA rite of passage – you know, the one where great players wait their turn to win a title, or something. Kevin Durant almost broke this mold until he didn’t, and, predictably, the idea of the better team winning the series was wholly swallowed up, spit out and disregarded. LeBron paid his dues, so he won.

Now, I completely understand why Carmelo Anthony rattles off these cliched platitudes – it satiates a certain category of media personalities waiting to extol the virtues of the new and improved [insert athlete here]. It builds good will in the short term, even if it only delays inescapable scrutiny that harps on past problems. With Carmelo, it’s a matter of defense and team play. He arrived in New York and the tactical pieces were in place – so we cleared the slate and chalked up his self-absorbed game to something in the air in Denver. New York could purify him.

Of course, nothing has changed. ‘Melo doesn’t distribute the ball and his defense only comes in erratic bursts. This shouldn’t come as any real surprise, because players’ on-court tendencies hardly ever change – it’s only our reactionary analysis that mutates constantly. That’s why I don’t buy what ‘Melo is selling. He’ll play basketball the way he knows how, and we (Yes, I’m a Knicks fan.) will cheer for him, praying the Knicks can make some Maverick-like run. Can he be the best player on a championship team? Sure, why not. I don’t think the Knicks’ current configuration can bring more than a handful of playoff wins, but stranger things have happened.

Just don’t sensationalize his every failure or augment your expectations, especially when we’ve essentially backed him into such predictive posturing. Maybe it is the Knicks’ time, or maybe it isn’t. No statement will change his mentality – he’s always tried to win, if only to ward off relentless critics pointing to his limited playoff success as some indictment of his will to win. Just let him play his game as is. Any departure from his current playing style will only detract from his overall effectiveness – he’s just not used to passing, and he’s not in superhuman physical shape to play 100 percent on both ends for 48 minutes. He’ll do his thing at his pace, and we’ll just have to live with the results.

Do you think Carmelo Anthony will turn it on this season?

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