2003-2004(Rookie Year)- Helped the Nuggets improve their record from the previous year and get into the playoffs as the 8th seed.
They faced #1 seeded Minnesota, prime KG and were knocked out of the 1st Round 4-1
2004-2005- Again improved their record and got into the playoffs as the 7th seed.
They faced #2 seeded San Antonio, stole game 1 but lost the rest and we're bumped 4-1
2005-2006- Denver won the division title but when the NBA made the format the 3rd seed could still lose Home Court Advantage the 6th seed, the Clippers got the 6th seed and home court advantage which potentially ruined any chance Denver had of getting out the 1st Round
They faced #6 seeded Los Angeles and got bumped 4-1
2006-2007- They got to the 6th seed
They faced the #3 seeded San Antonio Spurs, stole game 1 and lost the rest 4-1
2007-2008- Won 50 games, 50 games and only go the 8th seed, ended up with the Lakers
They faced the #1 seeded Lakers and got swept out of the 1st Round
2008-2009- Chauncey Billups arrived who was a better compliment to Carmelo and Denver pushed all the way to the #2 seed in the West, this after spending the summer with Team USA Melo was a changed player
Throughtout the playoffs, they destroyed New Orleans, Melo came up clutch vs Dallas and was 2 inbound passes away from potentially beating the Lakers.
Nuggets eventually lost 4-2
2009-2010- Denver again wins the division title, but are now an older team
They face the Utah Jazz where no one shows up to help Melo who averaged 30 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 steals in the series. They went on to lose 4-2
2010-2011- Melo is traded to the Knicks, the Knicks dont mesh and get Boston in the 1st Round, STAT and Billups get hurt(sound familiar) and the Knicks get swept
2011-2012- Knicks add Chandler, Lin, Smith, Novak, Davis, Bibby, Shumpert and Woodson, the lockout makes it hard for the team to gel, on top of that they have a mid-season coaching change which was for the best, prior the playoffs, Lin gets hurt, game 1 Shumpert gets hurt, game 2 STAT gets hurt, Melo with no help at all is facing one of the best defensive teams in the league and is getting scrutinized by everyone for not playing well, the team is losing and all people can say is Melo never shows up. Knicks down 3-0 currently
The year I bolded stands out for a lot of reasons, I heard Shaq say yesterday what every team needs to win a championship
1. A 1-2 punch that compliments each other
2. A system that compliments the players
3. Others- guys who know their roles and do them well
in 2008-2009, the Nuggets added Billups who complimented a newly focused Melo so well, played off of him better than AI ever did, they also had perfect semi-uptempo system and defensive oriented players around Melo. As for the others they had the enforcers in K-Mart and Birdman, the post presence in Nene, the lead guard in Chauncey Billups, the long range threat and instant offense off the bench in JR Smith, the perimeter defender in Dahntay Jones and a back up facilitating PG in Anthony Carter. Added to the best player Carmelo Anthony. They also had the luck of the draw this year as this is 1 of 2 years he's had home court advantage
If we look at how the Knicks are constructed we see we have 1 of the 3 needed things
We have others but we either have a 1-2 punch that doesn't mix or a system that doesn't allow them to mix, now if Carmelo can share a frontcourt with Martin and Nene why cant he with Chandler and Stoudemire
Also Melo was coming off of a great learning experience, one he will hopefully get this summer. In life we are always students so I'm thinking Melo will learn some stuff from Kobe and company about what it takes to be a Champion, he already knows what it takes to win does he know what it takes to be a Champion.
He also found the perfect compliment to his game in Billups a relied upon #2 who was satisfied in that role.
So either we change the system or we change a key member of the personnel. But thats what I've noticed throughout Melo's career.
Side-note- Chris Paul has been to the playoffs 3 times, out the 1st Round once and is still regarded as the best PG in the league
This is part 1 to a 3 part series on the evolution of Carmelo Anthony