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Will Carmelo Anthony Ever Win an NBA Title?

Carmelo Anthony, the man some consider to be the purest shooter in the league. He has "wow"ed people with his ability to create shots and deliver in even the toughest of situations. However, Carmelo has gone his whole nine year career without even being able to reach the NBA Finals. In fact, Anthony has only competed in the Conference Finals once (in 2009 against the Los Angeles Lakers, who would go on to win the NBA Finals that season.) If Carmelo really is one of the top five best players in the league, why can't he win a title, or even get to one? However, the real question is, will Anthony ever go on to win a title?

 In order to answer the question at hand, we need to truly look into Carmelo's stats and what he supplies for his teams. One statistic that immediately sticks out his ability to get into the playoffs. Anthony hasn't missed the playoffs one season in his whole career. The same can't be said for 2003 NBA Draft rivals LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Of course, all of the above except Bosh have still played in more playoff games than Carmelo, but the regular season lasts longer than the post season and Anthony was consistent enough to get to the playoffs every year. However, in his first five seasons, Carmelo shot less than 40% in three of those series, and has a career average of shooting only 41.7% in the post season between Denver and New York. Carmelo has only one deep playoff run on his record (unless you include this year's, but that is quite a stretch), and that came in the '08-'09 season with the Nuggets. For the previous three seasons, Melo had been sharing time with Allen Iverson as the star in Denver, but Iverson was traded during the season for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb. Anthony flowered during the playoffs, putting up some of his best numbers yet, including a shooting percentage of 45.3% and averaging 27.2 PPG. He now had the reigns to the Nuggets organization, and he took advantage of it. He took the Nuggets to the playoffs yet again the next season and took on the Utah Jazz, led by Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams. Despite putting up memorable point and rebound totals, Carmelo and the Nuggets lost in a six game series. This marked the end of the Carmelo Era in Denver. He was fed up with not being in the spotlight. Melo was insistent on playing on a big market stage. Trade rumors began to spread as Anthony refused to sign a contract extension with the Nuggets. Shortly after the beginning of the season, Anthony and his favorite teammate were shipped off to New York in a multi-player deal involving three teams; the Knickerbockers, the Nuggets, and the Timberwolves. Amar'e Stoudemire had just signed a contract with the Knicks that summer, in attempt to "recreate" what the Boston Celtics had done with the "Big 3". The Knicks didn't exactly get the results that they anticipated. While Stoudemire, Anthony, and Billups supplied a combined 55.5 PPG, including a 42 point, 17 rebound, 6 assist game three for Carmelo, the Knicks still fell short of the Boston Celtics in four short games. The Knicks were able to sneak their ways into the playoffs again with the help from newly acquired Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith. However, despite their efforts, the Knicks were bounced again by the Miami Heat in five games. Tensions began to rise in New York, as everyone was unsure if the Knicks could put a truly competitive team together in order to make a run at the title. Trade talks were surrounding Stoudemire, as his previous season had been a less than thriling 48.3% shooting percentage and mere 17.5 PPG in the regular season, including two less points per game in the playoffs. However, Carmelo and the Knicks answered and went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and lost to the Indiana Pacers in six games, after going down 3-1 in the series. This seams to have settled the controversy in New York, but not the debate over Carmelo Anthony. Why hasn't Melo been able to reach a title? One theory is the number of shots he takes. While he has scored a dazzling 25.7 PPG average in the playoffs, he also averages a lackluster 41.7% shooting percentage, along with taking 21.4 shots per game. This number is even higher with the Knicks, being upwards of 22 shots per game. If your shots per game is as close to your points per game as Anthony's is, you have a problem. Another theory is Carmelo's ability to rebound and defend. Carmelo Anthony is 6' 8", 230 pounds and has a wingspan of seven feet. If he was two inches shorter and weighed 20 less pounds, I wouldn't be surprised if he averaged four rebounds a game. His defense isn't exactly known to be stellar either. One other problem with Carmelo Anthony could be his team's need to have the ball in his hands. In his time in Denver, Melo had two of his highest three field goal percentages in the playoffs when he was playing alongside Allen Iverson "in his prime". Some of the weight was taken off his shoulders, he wasn't required to throw up 40 point games in order to keep his team afloat (which he did multiple times, FYI). However, the most popular idea is a combination between all of the above. Although, the one that sticks out the most is the lack of another truly superstar threat. This intrigues me for a couple of reasons. For one, this makes much sense due to the league today's idea that "Super Teams" are the only way to win. However, the 2011 Dallas Mavericks would have something to say about that...as would the '89-'90 Detroit Pistons. For an even more recent example, the new look Denver Nuggets would beg to differ. This theory is also debunked by players such as Stephen Curry. Curry practically single-handedly, led the Warriors to the Conference Semifinals with pure shooting alone, a task that Carmelo seems to be trying to do and failing at for most of his career. So, I guess the real question is, is it one of Carmelo's weaknesses that is keeping him from a title, or is it our overestimation of him? If a three year Stephen Curry can do it, why can't Carmelo? Is Carmelo really the shooter we think he is, or is it possible that Curry is just that much better than everybody? Ultimately, the question doesn't matter if Melo delivered, but he hasn't always done so. His consistency is shaky at best, and very much hinders the Knicks chances of winning if he is cold. In reality, Melo probably just does need another superstar there to take some of the load off of his back. However, it can't be a chucker like Allen Iverson was. Somebody like an Andre Iguodala would suit him prefectly. However, until he receives the help he needs from that, Carmelo's title hopes will probably never become a reality. If LeBron James or Michael Jordan played on the Knicks instead of Carmelo, I would say that Knicks are automatically title contenders, but Melo doesn't supply the things that the best ever players do. Carmelo Anthony provides an elegant shot and not much more after that. Anthony will have to work harder than he may think if he wants a title, especially with the much more dominant Miami Heat. Even with quality minutes from Tyson Chandler and J. R. Smith, the chances are slim. In reality, Carmelo's title future looks bleak and based on his history, it's not going to happen. Carmelo will go down as one of the great shooters of his time, but without any rings. I would say is like a certain former New York Knick that failed to win a title for his team, but that would be a ridiculous overstatement. It's a shame that Melo's legacy could very easily go down like this, but this seems to be it's evident future. In short, no, Carmelo Anthony will not ever win an NBA Title.

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