Carmelo Anthony has evolved from the baby-faced assassin, who intimidated defenders with a barrage of jab work and power finishes, to the crafty veteran who still pulls rank on the yard. Carmelo has been nothing less than smooth in his maturation. He bounced on Denver for the bright lights of The Big Apple, and in turn put a lot more pressure on his broad shoulders but it’s not like his shoulders can’t take a little extra pressure. Standing at 6’8 and weighing a good 230lbs, the days of worrying about his dedication to his body and the game he earns a living from are gone.
He has lost the pudge and with that he found a resolve which led to a career year, culminating in an “almost” MVP. With a plethora of fall away jump shots, shimmy’s, and jab steps that would make Bernard King blush, Melo’s game is brutally offensive to every defender he faces. However, Anthony’s offense has never been on trial. Early on critics pointed towards Melo’s part-time defense, and commitment to the principles of teamwork. Fortunately, B-More’s Finest was too busy providing scoring clinics to the league to notice his haters. Now, Anthony has to deal with the constant scrutiny of being in the largest markets in sports – and not bringing home that Larry O’Brien trophy his buddy Lebron is hogging at the moment.
The new-look Knicks look poised for a great championship run this season. With talented draft picks like Tim Hardaway Jr in tow, along with new veteran faces like Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace, the Knicks will be prepared to fight through the tough Eastern Conference ranks this season. The only question that remains is if Melo can pull them all together for some jewelry. Bumped out of the playoffs this year by Paul George’s emerging Pacers, the Knicks still have to contend with King James’ Heat, the cheat-code Nets, and the Bulls who are getting their MVP Derrick Rose back come November.
There is no doubt that Melo’s clip is loaded, barrel still steaming from the target practice he ran on the league last season while edging out Kevin Durant for the scoring title, but he’s also bought into Woodson’s defensive teachings and even seems to be a more willing passer. Maybe he’s began to trust – both his teammates, and the system. He certainly trusts Tyson Chandler, connecting with him on multiple alley-oops last season. He also trusts the sometimes erratic J.R. Smith, knowing he can provide tough baskets at a high clip in big moments.
Raymond Felton, Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert are all teammates he trusts to have his back while the evil media pundits hold out their bowls like Oliver Twist waiting on more gruel. Make no mistake, at the first sight of any turmoil, those hecklers will be back; waiting to crucify Baltimore’s prodigal son on a cross in Times Square for a missed practice or shooting slump.
Ain’t no love in the heart of the city. Especially in New York. But if Melo and the #KnicksTape have it their way, a lot of love will be shown this season.