2nd Team SF: Carmelo Anthony
- Stats from 2011 to 2015:
- 26.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.1 STL
With Amar’e Stoudemire the prize of the 2010 NBA free agency period, and forward Danilo Gallinari excelling as the Knicks’ second option on offense in the first half of the 2010-11 season, the Knicks were progressing wonderfully under head coach Mike D’Antoni’s high-octane offense, looking ahead to the summer of 2011, when they looked to rein in unrestricted free agent and Brooklyn-born Carmelo Anthony, who more than intimated a strong desire to play in New York.
Prior to the trade deadline, general manager Donnie Walsh was coerced by owner James Dolan to acquire Melo sooner, and the Knicks dealt nearly half the roster, including Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and a bevy of draft picks, in order to heed Dolan’s urging. Melo, along with Nuggets teammate Chauncey Billups, would lead the Knicks back to the postseason, only to get swept by the third-seeded Boston Celtics despite two close, nail-biting games on the road that should have seen the Knicks up 2-0 in the series heading back home.
Under Carmelo, the Knicks won an Atlantic Division title in 2012-13 for the first time since their NBA Finals run in 1993-94, earning the Eastern Conference’s second seed. After defeating the Boston Celtics, the Knicks pushed the Indiana Pacers to six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but ended up losing the series 4-2.
In that same season, Melo won the Eastern Conference Player of the week award thrice, earned a spot as a starter on the All-Star team, set a franchise record of thirty-one straight games played while scoring 20+ points, and tied a franchise record of five successive games scoring 35+ points, set nearly thirty years before by Bernard King.
In short, with Carmelo signing a five-year extension in the 2014 offseason, the Oak Hill Academy product has Knick fans thinking championship, especially in light of his 2013 scoring title, four NBA All-Star selections (2011-2015), and a renewed vigor to buy into Phil Jackson’s plan of hiring Derek Fisher as coach, landing many key assets in the 2015 free agency period, and selecting Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth pick in this year’s draft, with hopes even of landing a marquee name (Kevin Durant?) in free agency in 2016.
Melo’s detractors proclaim him “selfish” and deem him an unworthy leader who does nothing in the way of making those around him better, and others bash him for his less-than-enthused play on the defensive end, but Carmelo’s tenure in New York has amounted to three playoff appearances and the first playoff series’ win since before the dreaded Isaiah Thomas era, not to mention a bundle of clutch performances and game-winning shots in New York, including a 62 point game at The Garden in January of 2014 against the Bobcats, a feat that bested Bernard King’s single game record.
Still in his prime, Melo has much to prove, and the jury is still out on what he can, and just might, accomplish in the playoffs for the Knicks.