Over the past week, Melo passed Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list, and has Gary Payton in his sights by the end of the year. But despite that, there’s a cloud that hangs over Melo’s career.
“He doesn’t care about championships, only money.”
“He takes too many shots.”
In the summer of 2014, Melo made the choice to return to the Knicks (for less than the max contract, a little known fact) instead of signing with the contending Chicago Bulls, among others. Even though Melo was from Brooklyn, and played ball at Syracuse, that was perceived as greed, and grew the darkness that comes with the name Melo.
But looking at the numbers, and watching Melo, there’s an ability and presence to his game that can’t be called anything short of unique. Even in the playoffs, when Melo’s taken flak for not showing up, he’s averaging 26 and 7 for his career of 66 games. Granted, he’s only been out of the first round two times out of 10 appearances. But you cannot say he didn’t show up.
In terms of the shots, there are players who can disrupt the flow of games with poor shots. But Melo has been and continues to be an elite, dynamic scoring threat. He’s always had weight to him, and never been extremely fast. But much like Paul Pierce, there’s quickness and nuance in his game that we don’t often see. Shooters shoot. There’s no way around it.
Moving forward, Porzingis’s presence will help relieve some of the pressure put on him by New York and national media. He’ll be able to settle into a smarter, more efficient game, also a testament to his maturity.
Finally, the measure always thrown out about “great players” are their rings. Much like Charles Barkley or John Stockton, maybe Melo’s just really good at the wrong time. Maybe if he didn’t have Lebron James and Dwyane Wade in his conference, and Kobe Bryant in the other, for his entire career, he’d be able to grab one. But it’ll take drastic changes for the Knicks roster to even make the Finals before Melo hangs it up.
There’s still at least 5 years left for Melo. The Knicks may make the playoffs this year, and through a good draft and free agency, may be able to be a top 6 seed in the years to come. Seeing Carmelo thrive in the postseason would make this argument a lot easier to make. So is he a Hall of Famer? It’s not unreasonable to think he can score 6000 more points in his career. That would bring him to around 28000 points. 28000! That’s top 15 all-time! At that rate, there’s no keeping Melo out of the Hall…where he belongs.
Short video from Vice Sports below: Carmelo Anthony Visits Rikers Island