Carmelo Anthony is an elite offensive talent. He can create a shot, shoot from distance, post up, draw fouls, recognize and exploit physical mismatches. His offensive repertoire is so vast and varied that on any given night he can turn the outcome of an NBA game single-handedly. For this talent, he is paid well and regarded among the superstars of the game. And but for the latter, I could appreciate him without reservation.
Truth is I demand more of a superstar. Superstars are measured by winning and leadership. Anthony has precious little of either on his resume. Denver was a marginal playoff team with him, and remains the same without him. The Knicks are winning now with a veteran and professional cast supporting him, but not at a rate likely to end with a championship in June. Anthony’s best team’s have coincided with the arrival of genuine leaders in Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler, likely because the self-absorbed Melo has no gift or arguably concern for leading his team.
This also explains his relatively successful career as a member of the USMNT, where his role has been defined to scoring. The presence of Anthony guarantees you little more than 25 points a game and a half dozen game deciding performances.
Actual superstars invest themselves fully into their team, elevate the level of play around them, and do all the things necessary to win games on both ends of the floor night after night. Their is no shame in not being a superstar, but there is in pretending to be one.