Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks is again starting in the NBA All-Star Game. This year, however, he deserves it more than ever.

By David Hong

As we all know, the voting for the NBA All-Star starters were announced Thursday, and once again New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will start for the Eastern squad.

This is Melo’s ninth All-Star appearance of his career. He has been a starter for all five of his full seasons with the Knicks.

Out of all his five seasons here and perhaps his entire career, this is the year that Anthony truly deserves to be a starter.

Melo has been a consistent All-Star mainly because he’s always been a great scorer and one of the best in the game ever since he entered the league in 2003. He’s averaged over 20 points every year of his career and is one of the well rounded scorers in the game.

This season so far, he’s averaging 21.7 pts per game. That is actually his lowest scoring average since his second year in the league.

Why then is he most deserving this season?

It comes down to the “new Melo.”

Anthony is doing all the other things better, most notably his passing. Melo is averaging a career high 4.0 assists so far. Over the course of his career, he’s always been known more for his iso, ball dominant play. He has never been known to get others involved and was all on himself scoring wise. While being a dominant scorer himself, Melo was never known to make others better like his counterpart Lebron James has done.

Not so this season.

Melo is sharing the rock more and is looking for his teammates more even when he has the ball. You can see how he is trusting his teammates more and trying to get them involved. There were games this season when Anthony nearly got a triple double because he was close to getting 10 assists in a game. You rarely saw that in years past. As a result, more ball movement has been seen in the Knicks offense and less iso, one-on-one play.

Not only that but Melo has played better defense and been making more of an effort on the other end. He is hustling more and is playing tighter one on one defense on his man whether it’s inside or on the perimeter. The Knicks are one of the best in the league in perimeter defense.

Anthony has also become more of a leader, even vocally. Melo was never known as a rah-rah guy and one who would get in people’s ears. However this year, Melo has done more of that, whether it’s giving advice to others during a timeout or during play, Melo has been more outspoken.

Adding to this, Melo is stepping up for his teammates. Few times when a Knicks player got fouled hard, Melo came in to the opposition and let them know that he did not appreciate that.

Last but not least, Melo has developed into a great rapport with rookie Kristaps Porzingis.

Ever since the start of the season Anthony has taken Porzingis under his wing, showing him the ropes and trying to help him get better. Unlike past instances when he didn’t have good companionships with the other Knicks popular players (Amar’e Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin), it’s different with the rookie from Latvia.

Melo has embraced Porzingis and is doing as much as he can to get Porzingis comfortable in the NBA. So far Porzingis has exceed expectations and the team’s biggest star definitely has a say in that.

Melo is clearly having his best all around season of his career this year. This is what we envisioned of him when he first came to New York back in 2011.

He’s done a great job balancing his scoring and his distributing. He seems to know better of when to score and when to pass. He is making good passes to open players and others are getting involved more in the offense.

And we didn’t even mention the fact that Melo had a difficult season last year, as did everyone on the Knicks. He missed half of the season with surgery on his knee.

He got off to a slow start this season but has really been terrific lately and the Knicks after a 17 win season in 2014-2015, have already exceed that win total and are at .500 with a chance to go to the playoffs fro the first time since 2013.

Carmelo Anthony’s strong all-around, unselfish play has been a huge reason for that and that is why he deserves to start in the NBA All-Star game this year more than any of his other years in his career.

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David Hong

Other than God, sports are my biggest love. My teams are the Mets, Knicks, NY Giants, NY Rangers and St Johns basketball (St. John’s alumni). I especially love the Mets like crazy, more than any other team and seeing them win the World Series would be a dream come true and definitely the best sports moment. The Knicks are a close second. I also like to write, so combine that with my passion for sports equals a perfect scenario, I would love to do sports writing long term. If not that, then probably sports broadcasting, cause I love to talk sports as well. In addition to writing for ESNY, I’m also currently writing for Metsmerizedonline.