Ball-stopper. Only talented offensively. Doesn't play consistent defense. Can't make players around him better. Will never lead his team to a championship.
Carmelo Anthony has heard it all in his nine-year career, because high expectations haven't yet translated to the biggest stage. And the criticisms have only intensified in New York City, the No. 1 media market. That comes with the territory, being the go-to guy.
But there's no questioning Anthony's star power. He can flat out put the ball in the basket in any position -- as a natural three, stretch four or point-forward -- and he's proven he can do a bit of everything else well when he's zoned in. Raymond Felton said he has "the ultimate game," and Charles Barkley has consistently called him the "best pure scorer in the league."
But how does Melo really make a difference on the Knicks? We turned to his coach and two key teammates to get some answers.
Mike Woodson: "He's the ultimate pro. You hear all kinds of stories before you coach a kid, but he's been everything and more for me in terms of me being able to coach him, being able to challenge him, and he's responded. He's made guys around him better. I thought last year our team really grew based on Melo and how he stepped it up after we had all the injuries. When Amar'e went out, which was a blow to our ball club, Melo rallied the troops I thought, and everybody responded until Amar'e was able to get back. That, to me, is a sign of a leader."
Steve Novak: "I'll tell you: What stands out to me more this year, and now than ever, is there hasn't been a day that he -- even before training camp started -- hasn't been a part of absolutely everything we've done. I mean, a lot of times, you get the idea of a star -- he comes in and he does what he wants and he's done. He scrimmaged the whole entire time during the day, he's played every single preseason game, except for [the second Celtics game on Oct. 20] -- and those are coach's demands that we've got to rest a little bit. But he's a guy who does everything. He's in every drill, he's in every game, and, to me, that shows how much he cares, how much this season means to him."
Ronnie Brewer: "He's so versatile. Anybody who can be a point-forward and bring the ball up and initiate the offense; put him on the wing and he can score from either position, shooting guard or small forward; and then you can put him at the four and be a mismatch to everybody in the league, that makes him very special. He's able to do so much -- rebounding, scoring, defending. I mean, he can affect the game in so many different aspects. That's why he's one of the best guys to play the game."
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