“You either win a championship, or play long enough to see your franchise president become the villain.”
Carmelo Anthony can attest to that.
President of Knicks’ operations, Phil Jackson, held a press conference Friday afternoon, and displayed nothing but skepticism regarding the future of the star forward. With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at Carmelo’s career in New York, one worth reverence.
After facing issues with coaching and the staff as a part of the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo was traded in a huge blockbuster deal to New York. His arrival was met with heavy anticipation from Knicks fans, considered the answer for their championship woes.
Although he was only set to play twenty-seven games for the remainder of his first season, he would go on to average 26.3 points and 6.7 rebounds a game. New York would reach the playoffs that year, but get shut out in four games of the first round by the Boston Celtics. Despite injury, Carmelo was a great play maker the following season, and posted a season-high 43 points against the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks would go to the playoffs, but again be shutout; this time by LeBron and the Heat, who were on the road to their second championship in a decade.
The 2012-2013 season would go on to be referenced as arguably the best season Carmelo played in New York. Not even mentioning his near 29 point average that year, Anthony became the only Knick since Bernard King to post three consecutive 40-point games (including 50 against the Miami Heat). New York’s leading light was on a tear, and he lead them to the playoffs yet again, this time more prepared. Though they went on to defeat Boston the first round 4-2, the Knicks fell to the Indiana Pacers through six games in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
I will graze lightly through the following years in New York, not for Carmelo’s sake but for the Knicks as a franchise. Fast forward to 2013-2014, which was a forgettable season by all means. In January of that season, Carmelo would provide a silver lining to fans in despair regarding the future and whether he was the solution. In a match up with the Charlotte Bobcats, he topped Bernard King’s franchise record of sixty points with a 62 point game.*
At the start of the following season Anthony would go on to eclipse 20,000 career points, only the 40th player ever to do so. At the age of thirty, Carmelo became the 6th youngest player to transcend this milestone. The following two seasons were not kind to New York, and the team has gone 63-101, missing playoffs both years. Now, although Anthony is signed through 2019, his days in Knicks blue, white, and orange may be through.
The New York Knicks met the 2016-2017 season with a lot of drama, between both Phil Jackson, the staff, and his players. Derrick Rose skipped a home game without advising the coaching staff, former Knicks player Charles Oakley was kicked out of a home game, and president of operations Phil Jackson avoided the press at all costs. Now, the man behind the curtain has revealed himself, with nothing nice to say about Carmelo Anthony:
- “Holding the ball is not a criticism, that’s what he does. It’s pure fact.”
- “I think the direction with our team, is that he would be better off somewhere else.”
Jackson even took the audacity to imply Melo’s ball handling served as a catalyst towards the failure of his infamous triangle offense. Following the Carmelo slander, the general understanding is that the Knicks’ top scorer won’t be found on the roster next season. The question that arises lies here: “If Phil can so easily blame Carmelo for the Knicks lack of success, can Carmelo not say the same for him?” When in all reality, Anthony and the Knicks were better off before Jackson’s arrival:
- before Phil Jackson, 141-117. 3 playoff appearances.
- after Phil Jackson, 80-166. 0 playoff appearances.
There are a number of landing spots where a prolific scorer such as Anthony could thrive, but in the face of adversity, I’d almost rather he hold his ground. Carmelo is one of the best Knicks of all time, though he is certainly not being treated as such.
It will be the culmination of a dark era in New York of which there was little light, and his name was Carmelo Anthony.
All stats and information provided by ESPN, Daily Knicks, and NBA.com. Featured image provided by sportige.com via Google Images.
*reminder that he checked out of that game with 7:18 left in the fourth quarter*