Melo Needs to Mellow

Carmelo Anthony, one of the best shooters in the NBA over the last dozen years, is starting to complain about referees picking on him. Lately, he states that although being his ‘aggressive’ self, he seems to feel that the style he is using is being targeted for constant whistles. Why, after all these years, does Melo feel the need to air his grievances in public about the calls he’s getting while on the court?

Does this surprise anyone who has followed Carmelo Anthony the last few seasons?  Is it really a legitimate gripe, or is it Melo just being Melo? He’s not known as the best team player in the sport, and even saying that is a stretch. Since graduating from Syracuse as one of the premier picks in the NBA draft, he has definitely been in the upper tier of players in the league, and is always a perennial all-star. These facts you cannot dispute.

Anthony is from New York, where he played at an upstate school. He then got drafted by the Denver Nuggets, spending most of his career there before coming to the Knicks. Since that time, he has been a more than average player, but hasn’t been the ‘savior’ that the Garden faithful had hoped he would be, like Reed, Frazier, Ewing, and others who have graced the squared circle over the years. In fact, he has just been pretty average over the time he’s been here, and hasn’t really ingratiated himself to the rabid New York fan base.

The question remains – is Melo a team player, or is it all about Melo being Melo?  When Amare Stoudimire became a Knick, he was an instant fan favorite – with the throngs in attendance yelling ‘MVP’ on  many an occasions. When Melo arrived he was supposed to take the Knicks to the next level, but what happened was a considerable step backwards. Last season was something every fan wants to forget, and in the end, they never expected such a dismal performance. The only positive thing was they got a lottery pick – number four – and with it they took the surprising Latvian Kristaps Porzingis.

That’s another problem. Anthony is not the center of attention anymore at the world’s most famous arena.  After being booed for picking a non-NCAA collegiate stud, the Knicks may have hit the jackpot with Porzingis. He’s had more than his share of highlight films each night, and he was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month by the NBA in November. To say Phil Jackson is a genius and continues to make lemonade out of lemons is an understatement.  The problem is, deep down, this probably bothers the Melo brand. He’s not the ‘star’ at the Garden any longer, and his tenure as the future savior of the Knicks is   seemingly coming to a close.

This brings me back to the whining about the refs.  Sure, we all think that once you leave college and play as hard as you can to get that coveted job in the NBA, you will do your best imitation as a star player, like Lebron James, Stephen Curry, or James Harden. But his griping about calls against him sound trivial. He states that he can’t ‘flop’, or learn to throw his head back like other players, but in the same sentence, says he is not saying that anyone else does that. What actually is he saying then? Is he being singled out?  Is everyone in zebra stripes with a whistle against Melo?

Knick fans are starting to grumble about the max deal the team gave him to stay with the team.  At the time, Melo seemed to be looking on the other side of the fence, where he thought the grass might be greener. Chicago, the Lakers, somewhere else? Those teams seemed to balk, or came in considerably less as far as bucks go for Carmelo and his posse. Not sure that this was the best decision on the Knicks part, or on Melo’s part for that matter.

He doesn’t seem to be happy with his role in Jackson’s triangle offense, and we all know that he absolutely hates playing second fiddle to someone just drafted and has no track record with fans in New York. Heck, can anyone really say that Melo’s been a true ‘team’ player. I don’t think that word is in his vocabulary.  Again, Melo is all about Melo, and what’s best for him – not what’s best for the team he plays on, or the others around him that make him look like he’s a star.

For all the complaints about NBA players and their lack of playing hard for the regular season, not playing defense, padding their stats, or whatever else they can complain about, Carmelo Anthony is at the top of his class in bringing out the worst in what’s wrong with today’s NBA.  He’s not a team player, he hasn’t succeeded in the playoffs, and for all the stats he’s amassed, it hasn’t amounted to a hill of beans for anything that really matters to fans – championships.

Maybe Carmelo Anthony needs to take a look in the mirror and figure out what’s more important at the end of the day – scoring the most points, getting no fouls called against him, and being the darling of Garden fans throughout New York, or buying into the Knicks rebuilding system, learning how to finally be a team player, and taking this franchise to a championship level for the first time since 1973.  It’s a stretch, and not likely to happen, but a fan can always dream.