ESPN Insider article on Melo.
What execs really think of Melo
Knicks star's me-first attitude will prevent him from winning a title
Updated: November 14, 2013, 3:30 PM ET
By [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] | ESPN Insider
http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2013/0803...ny_gb2_576.jpg Lintao Zhang/Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony needs to look himself in the mirror, some team execs say.
The [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] enter tonight's game against the [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] with a disappointing 3-4 record. While it's way too early to panic, it's not too early to say this: Even when the Knicks right themselves (and I firmly believe they will), they have only a decent chance of getting out of the first round and no chance of getting past the second.
Hence, the Knicks' superstar, [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...], is doomed for yet another postseason of failure. In his 10 previous NBA seasons, Anthony, to his credit, has made the playoffs every year. But just twice has his team advanced past the first round. This kind of perennial failure begs so many questions.
So how much of the blame for that should fall on Melo? What does that say about him as a player? What's he missing, if anything? Can he lead a team to a championship, or even to the NBA Finals? What type of team would fit best around him? Should he leave New York next summer in search of a better chance to win it all? Is he really just a star masquerading as a "superstar'?'
To answer these questions, I turned to four long-time league executives who were granted anonymity so they could share their true opinions.
Eastern Conference executive No. 1
In short: This particular executive says Anthony picked up some bad habits while he was in Denver. Is he a winner? Sure, but is he Batman or Robin?
"I like Melo. I like that he competes. He obviously can score at a high level. People forget that when he got drafted by Denver, the Nuggets had won 17 games the year before. And he immediately turned them into a playoff team and took them to the playoffs every year he was there. He took a 17-win team and led them to 43 wins. So he can win and make a team better. I think his problem is that he went to Denver, which was a dysfunctional franchise at that time, so he picked up some bad habits and didn't learn what it takes to really win in this league. If he had gone to a better organization with a truly professional environment coming out of the gate, he would have learned and been more professional. He won big in college (leading Syracuse to the National Championship in 2003). He won big in high school at Oak Hill. He's been a winner all his life.
http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2013/1005...mb_288x162.jpgJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesAnthony scores because he has no qualms about taking his shot.
"But early on in Denver, he probably saw some bad habits and was allowed to get away with his bad habits -- like if he was five or 10 minutes late for a shootaround, or if he missed a team event somewhere. As a leader, you can't do that because you have to be able to get on guys when they do those things. He probably never learned that. And after leading a team from 17 wins to 43 wins, he probably thought winning in the NBA was a little easier than it really is, and he never was made to understand what it takes to get to the next level. He didn't learn the little things, the finer points of playing defensively - understanding that you have to make consecutive plays on defense if you really want to get it done. Things like that. So now, 10 years into the league, he's probably Robin on a championship team instead of Batman. He has Batman talent, but the intangibles are missing. And I think part of that is because of what he was introduced to when he came into the league with Denver… "As far as next summer, if I were him, I'd stay in New York and hope I can attract some more help. I think he has to put his feet in the concrete now and look at himself in the mirror. He knows where he's coming up short. I believe he's smart enough to recognize that. If [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] was younger, it'd be great for Melo to go play with him in L.A. because Kobe could get him to do the things he doesn't want to do right now. He'd have to listen to Kobe. But Kobe's older now and doesn't have enough left to help Melo win it. Overall, all these people talking crazy about Carmelo, saying he's not a winner -- ask them if they would take him on their team. You wouldn't get many people saying 'No.'"
Eastern Conference executive No. 2
In short: There's no denying Carmelo Anthony is a selfish player. The possessions and statistical inefficiency bear that out. And this executive agrees.
"He's a great player, but he's also a selfish player. That's just how he is. I don't think he'll look at himself in the mirror and say, 'What am I not doing? What am I doing that's keeping us from winning?' Again, I'm not saying he's not a great player. He's a phenomenal player. He's just selfish. He likes the glamour and the big time. Why else would he have left Denver for New York? That Denver team he was on was better than New York. But he wanted the show and the glamour. It wasn't about winning…
" All the talk about where he'll go next year -- if he goes somewhere else, that puts more pressure on him to win. It's going to follow him. I don't know if he'll have the guts to leave. If he leaves, he better win wherever he goes."For him to win, he has to have the right team around him. But finding the right team for him is very hard. You really have to get five Tyson Chandlers -- guys that play like Chandler but play at the other four positions. You need guys who will cater to Melo, guys who don't need the ball, guys who don't care about shooting a lot, guys that can make spot-up jump shots. Those are the type of guys Melo needs because he's not looking to be a team player. He's going to be a gunner and just shoot. If you have those type of guys around him, maybe he can win it. But the way I see it, he might end up being 33 years old after he matures a little bit and on a team with a guy or two who's better than him, and then he'll win it…
" -- Eastern Conference team executive
"All the talk about where he'll go next year -- if he goes somewhere else, that puts more pressure on him to win. It's going to follow him. I don't know if he'll have the guts to leave. If he leaves, he better win wherever he goes. If he stays, he can get the most money from New York and then at some point, demand a trade if he has to.''
Western Conference executive No. 1
In short: Anthony can score, but can he win? This executive says Melo needs help.
"I actually think that, for whatever reason, Melo's always gotten a pass. At the end of the day, he's been in the league long enough where, if he was really a winner and about winning, he'd have figured it out by now. He's had enough time to do that now. He should be able to say, 'Ok, this is not working. I've got to figure it out. I've got to take it upon myself as a superstar to try something else. Try to be a facilitator, make plays for other guys, or like Kobe and LeBron, get some stops. Every team I'm on is bad defensively, let me make more of a commitment defensively.' If he was really about winning, there's more he could do…
"Is he overrated? As a scorer, he's not overrated. He's a professional scorer. And as a winner -- that's what it's all about, right? -- he's not rated highly. I mean, this is his 11th season. It's time to win something. He went to the conference finals one time when [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] was still good and they had some pieces around them. As a guy without some pieces around him, Melo doesn't get it done because he doesn't make anybody else better. He's going to play the way he plays, but the team's not going to have much success. I don't know if he can be the best player on a championship team. Yeah, he might lead the league in scoring but he's also up there in points allowed. If you're getting points on one end, you can't be giving up just as many on the other end. To win, Melo needs a team full of defenders -- dirty, grimy, tough guys. He needs a veteran point guard like Billups who can tell him what he needs to do and has the authority to back it up. He needs some shooters, too, because he's not going to change his game.''
Western Conference executive No. 2
In short: This executive offers a past player comparable to Anthony. But [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] probably isn't the guy you want to be compared to.
"I love him as a player. I just don't think he's your alpha male. He can't be your No. 1 guy. He's kind of like [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...]. As the alpha male in Portland, Clyde never got over the top. But when he went to Houston and was the No. 2 guy to [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...], he won. Melo's too much about himself to be the No. 1 guy. He's not malicious in his approach or anything. He's just not about winning. He's about getting his, and doing it his way. I would love to have him as a second guy. But as your alpha male? He's not going to win anything like that. He's kind of like the 2013 version of Stephon Marbury. He's not as bad as Stephon, but he's got Steph tendencies.''
While they acknowledge his elite skills, these are some harsh words for Anthony. With him, there's no question that he can score and is a great player on his own. But as a team player, it looks like there remains plenty of questions.