Durant is sitting tonight. And even if he did play he’d need to score 70 points anyway. So its just a matter of time before Carmelo Anthony is crowned this year’s scoring champ. Its a nice feather in your cap. A nice regular season accomplishment. But I feel like its got a different connotation for Carmelo.
When people describe Carmelo as a “scorer” is a backhanded compliment. You look at the other guys who were in the hunt for the scoring title this season and they’re all very different from Melo. Durant is a great scorer and considerably more efficient than Melo on a nightly basis. Lebron James is an immortal player who, along with doing everything else on the court, scores upwards of 30 a game. Kobe is a similar scoring type to Carmelo but has 5 rings so he’s untouchable. But when people call Carmelo a “scorer” is more saying “he doesn’t do enough of everything else to be called a great player.” Which is hard to debate when you look at Carmelo’s entire body of work. And even this season in comparison to Durant – KD35 shooting over 51% for the season. A lot more efficient than Carmelo. And that mid season stretch of .500 basketball was nothing to brag about from Melo.
But this past month is where I think Carmelo deserves some big time respect for earning this title, but more importantly carrying his team. After a hot start, the Knicks were injured and struggling for like a 40 game stretch. Middle of March they lost 4 straight games and 5 out of 6 and it looked like things were about to get seriously ugly for the Knicks. And Carmelo then kicked it up about 5 notches. Went on essentially an unprecedented streak. Over the past month when his team needed him most he put up almost 33 points and 10 rebounds a game. His past reputation makes people call him a “scorer.” I know better than anyone – I’ve been Melo’s harshest critic. But this season, and particularly the last third of the season, Carmelo has been much more than that. Much more. He’s been a scorer and a leader. Playing big minutes, shooting efficiently, hitting the glass, and winning ballgames. Nobody touches Lebron in the MVP vote but Carmelo is you clear runner up this season.