25 NBA Players I’d Rather Have on My Team Than Carmelo Anthony

When the 2013-2014 NBA season concludes, Carmelo Anthony is expected to opt out of his current contract hitting the carmelounrestricted free agent market.  Anthony is expected to get a “max contract.” In the case of Carmelo Anthony he will get either $14 million a year or he will sign for 105% of his previous contract.  My brother sent me an email recently detailing his thoughts about Carmelo Anthony:

“Over the years, I have seen players like him.  Produces big numbers and is on a weak team or wrong team at wrong time.  For whatever reason, just does not have the planets align for a winning career.  Not sure what happened in Denver, but that was a better place for him than NY.  I am going to say something bold, under the microscope in NY, you know what, he is not that good a b-ball PLAYER.  He has a limited and talented skill set (tough match up and can score).  But, cannot pass, rebound, defend, help defend, block shots or handle the ball.  So when you see him all the time, his flaws are glaring.  Great scorer, fantastic scorer – not great player.  Make sense?”

As you know by now, I detest Syracuse.  Haven’t liked Melo since those days.  I have always argued he is the most overrated player in the NBA.  It usually falls on deaf ears and people think I am an idiot.  His two career accomplishments are winning a national championship (in which Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick played prominent roles) and he was outstanding in the last summer Olympics.  But he had quite the supporting cast.  Off the top of my head I could name 25 players I’d rather have on my team than Carmelo Anthony.  He slows down offenses because he needs the ball in his hands to be effective.  Does not move without the ball.

Being a man of my word, here are 25 players currently in the NBA I would rather have on my team than Carmelo Anthony:

1) Kevin Durantuntitled

2) LeBron James

3) Kevin Love

4) Chris Paul

5) Tim Duncan

6) James Harden

7) DeMarcus Cousins

8) Stephen Curryuntitled

9) Anthony Davis

10) Dirk Nowitzki

11) Paul George

12) LaMarcus Aldridge

13) Damian Lillard

14) Dwight Howard

15) Russell Westbrook

16) Kobe Bryant

17) Blake Griffin

18) Dwayne Wade

19) David Lee

20) John Wallimages

21) Rajon Rondo

22) Al Jefferson

23) Kyrie Irving

24) DeMar DeRozan

25) Paul Milsap

Yes, I realize Carmelo is 2nd in the league in scoring behind The Slim Reaper at 27.2 a night.  Yes, I realize Melo gets close to 9 rebounds a night.  All of that is just fine and dandy.  At the end of the day, the Knicks are still 20-31 and going nowhere as a franchise so long as Carmelo suits up for them.

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Celtics Win Despite Melo’s Heroics

After Game One, I bashed Carmelo Anthony for essentially losing the game for the Knicks.  He apparently read my post and took the Knicks on his shoulders in Game Two.  Melo put up video game stats tonight. 42 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 assists.  But it wasn’t enough to beat the Celtics, as Boston will head to New York Friday with a 2-0 series lead after beating the Knicks 96-93.  Rajon Rondo had 30 points and 7 assists for the Celtics.

The Knicks were already undermanned going into the game with Chauncey Billups in a suit on the bench after getting hurt in Game One.  Amare Stoudimire played just 18 minutes and didn’t return in the second half because of back spasms.  Apparently, putting the Knicks on his back in Game One was detrimental to his health.

The Celtics started out with Rondo driving to the basket over and over again making the game look like a personal lay up line.  At one point in the game Celtics announcer Mike Gorman said, “The Celtics could win this game by 25 if they wanted to.”  Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t let that happen as he put on a playoff performance that will remembered for years to come.  But just like when Jordan dropped 63 on the Celtics, it wasn’t enough.

Kevin Garnett was awful for the first 47 minutes of the game.  But in the last-minute he bullied Jared Jeffries in the post with 13 seconds left to put the Celtics up by one.  Then the 2nd place vote getter for Defensive Player of the Year stole the ball from Jeffries with 4 seconds left sealing the win for the Celtics.

The Celtics head to New York on Friday with a 2-0 lead.  But there are concerns with this team in a big picture view.  The bench was lousy tonight.  They were fortunate to not have to deal with Amare Stoudimire.  They were also fortunate that Landry Fields and Bill Walker are way in over their heads in this playoff series.  If the Celtics are to close out the Knicks, they will need to focus on playing a complete 48 minutes.  Here is the plus minus stats for the bench players of the Celtics: Delonte -4, Krstic -5, Green -7, and Davis -11.  The Heat and Bulls will take advantage of that.

. Until Friday, when the Madison Square Garden is sure to be raucous, the Celtics have a 2-0 series lead.  The y took care of business at home.  Now let’s see what they will do on the road.  A win is a win and they are now 14 away from Banner 18.

Game 1: Where Carmelo Lost the Game

The Boston Celtics stole Game One from the New York Knicks tonight at the TD Garden, 87-85.  The Celtics trailed the Knicks for most of the game but Ray Allen drilled a three with five seconds remaining to give the Celtics the series lead.  I have long preached death, taxes, and Ray Allen are the only certainties in life but the Celtics won this game because of Carmelo Anthony.

In the final five minutes of the game, Amare Stoudimire was unstoppable.  He was hitting jump shots, driving to the basket with authority, and the Celtics had no answers for him.  As the game wound down, Carmelo Anthony took it upon himself to try to win the game and ignore the hot hand of Amare.  The Celtics gladly let Melo try to win the game and he failed miserably culminating on an offensive foul where he shoved Paul Pierce in efforts of creating space.  From 2:15 on the Celtics took control of the game.  Melo hoisted a two threes in the final two minutes and was called for the offensive foul.  Amare didn’t touch the ball not because of the Celtics defense, but because of Melo’s selfishness.

Jermaine O’Neal was phenomenal tonight.  There really is not other word for it.  He was the energy the Celtics needed blocking shots and hitting his own shots.  Celtics fans were worried about not having Shaq, but Jermaine isn’t so bad himself.  He has the wingspan to block and change shots.  He is also willing to take charges.  Tonight Jermaine O’Neal reminded Boston that he was once a pretty good player himself.  It is a good thing because the Celtics will need him this post season.

It wasn’t until the middle of the third quarter that Rajon Rondo showed up.  For most of the game he looked slow and didn’t have the usual bounce in his step that we have been accustomed to seeing.  I was honestly concerned thinking the plantar fascia or his hamstrings were acting up.  But then he turned it on and started rebounding and creating opportunities.  With Billups now looking like he is hurt, the Knicks won’t have a true point guard.  Rondo should be able to take advantage going forward.

How about Ray Allen? Yes, he hit the game winning shot that sent all of New England into a frenzy.  But watching the game I was more pleased with him getting down low and mixing it up in the paint.  Every time I looked up Ray Allen was the one rebounding and starting the break.  The Celtics have struggled with rebounding all season long and can use all the help they can get.  Ray is an unlikely source of rebound production but he did have 6 tonight.  He was also very efficient with his offense, 9-15 from the field, 3-5 from downtown, and 24 points.

Game Two is Tuesday night.  Hopefully someone finds a muzzle for Glen Davis in the mean time.

The State of the Celtics 2011 Version

Last year at this time, I had pretty much written off the Celtics on the eve of their first playoff game.  Going into the playoffs they were slow, aging, and overall not interested in basketball.  Then they flipped the switch and had a magnificent run to the Finals where they were two and half minutes and a Kendrick Perkins injury away from winning the NBA Championship.

This year going into the playoffs, many people in Boston aren’t high on them again.  Some still say they aren’t getting any younger (again).  Some say the late season Kendrick Perkins trade messed with their chemistry and depleted their front line.  Others say they don’t have that tough interior defense that Perk provided.  With Shaq’s health a major question many don’t believe the Celtics can go far with Jermaine O’ Neal and Nenad Krstic playing the center position.  Most troubling to me, is Rajon Rondo has looked ordinary the last 2 months of the season.

The Celtics will open their 2011 second season against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.  There is no doubt that this is the most exciting first round playoff matchup in the East.  unfortunately, I am not interested in the Celtics having a tough first round opponent.  I have major concerns about how physical the matchup will be.  The March 21st matchup between these two teams was literally a bloodbath.  While I think the Celtics will handle the Knicks in six games, I am not as confident in what will happen after the Knicks series.  In all likelihood the Celtics will play the Heat in round two.

The Celtics will be forced to put Kevin Garnett on Amare Stoudimire.  Fortunately for the Celtics, the Knicks don’t have any other big man who could hurt them on the offensive end.   Jermaine O’ Neal, Kristic, and even Glen Davis should be able to handle Ronny Turiaf.

Chauncey Billups is a mixed bag these days.  While Rondo should be able to blow by him without any problems time and time again, Billups is a proven winner and has the ability to hit the big shots in crunch time.  I will be interested to see if “Playoff Rondo” shows up early and inserts his will upon the game.  Remember it wasn’t all that long ago when Celtic fans claimed they would NOT trade Rondo for Derrick Rose straight up.

The X-Factor in this series in my opinion is  Toney Douglas.  Douglas comes off the bench for the Knicks and has the ability to put up 12 points before you can say what college he went to (Florida State).  I would have to believe he would be Delonte West’s assignment and Delonte has been and is banged up right now. Landry Fields also concerns me.  I expect Carmelo and Amare to get their buckets.  But if the Celtics aren’t able to contain their supporting cast, they will be in trouble.

To quote the great Jim Ross, this will no doubt be a slobberknocker.  The Celtics have the playoff experience.  The Big Three have never lost an Eastern Conference playoff series.  For that trend to continue, they will have to be even better than they have in years past.  The road to the NBA Finals starts Sunday and it is filled with land mines.  The Celtics will have to be better than they have in years past to get there.  If they are, they will get to the Finals.  If not, they could be out as early as the second round.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF