Carmelo Anthony was a national champion in 2003, winning it at Syracuse University as a freshman in college. The eighteen-year-old had a bright future ahead after winning the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award that year as well. “Melo” declared for the NBA Draft and was selected third overall by the Denver Nuggets. Anthony had a phenomenal rookie season, turning the previously 17-65, worst record in the NBA Nuggets, into a 43-39 team that was the eighth seed in the Western Conference. He averaged 21 points per game in his rookie season and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, falling to Cleveland Cavaliers rookie sensation LeBron James. The Nuggets’ season ended in the first round of the playoffs when they were eliminated by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Anthony’s sophomore year as a professional was just as good, if not better than his rookie season. He finished the season averaging 20.8 points per game and helped the Nuggets improve their record to 49-33, yet again, contending for the playoffs. Unfortunately for Melo, the San Antonio Spurs, who went on to win the championship that season, eliminated the Nuggets in the first round. Anthony averaged 26.5 points per game the following season and led Denver to a division title and the third seed in the Western Conference. Once again, the Nuggets were eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers after winning only one game in the series. Although, following the season, Anthony signed a five-year, $80 million extension with the Nuggets.
In December of 2006, at a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Anthony was involved in a brawl on the court and was suspended for 15 games for his actions. While Anthony was suspended, the Nuggets acquired Allen Iverson, attempting to create a lethal duo of A.I. and Melo. Denver finished sixth in the Western Conference that season and faced the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. After winning the first game, the Spurs won the next four, again, eliminating the Nuggets from the playoffs in the opening round. Now, after his fourth season in the NBA, Anthony and the Nuggets had won four playoff games and had not made it past the first round. The next season was no different. Anthony averaged 25.7 points per game and was selected to be an All-Star for the second consecutive season. The Nuggets finished the season with 50 wins, but due to the talent in the Western Conference, finished with the eighth seed. The Los Angeles Lakers swept Denver in the first round, extending Anthony’s first-round playoff exit to five.
Finally, in the 2008-2009 season, Anthony caught his break. He finished the season averaging 22.8 points per game and led Denver to a 54-28 regular season record, which gave them the second seed in the Western Conference. Finally, the Nuggets beat the New Orleans Hornets in the opening round of the playoffs, giving Anthony his first playoff series win. In a post-game conference, Anthony said, “Yeah, finally..took me five years to get that gorilla off my back, it’s a great feeling.” The Nuggets went on to defeat the Dallas Mavericks in the second round and advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1985. However, the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the Nuggets and Anthony’s season came to an end.
The following season, Anthony was selected as an All-Star starter for the Western Conference. The Nuggets finished the season with 53 wins and another division title. Once again, Denver was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, this time by the Utah Jazz. Anthony wanted to be traded. I imagine he was sick of losing in the first round of the playoffs. He named the New York Knicks as his top destination and on February 22, 2011, Anthony and teammate Chauncey Billups were traded to the New York Knicks. After Anthony’s acquisition, the Knicks made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Due to injuries to Amare Stoudemire and Billups, the Knicks were swept in the opening round by the Boston Celtics.
Halfway through his first full season as a member of the New York Knicks, a change was made at the head coach position. Mike Woodson replaced Mike D’Antoni after the Knicks started the season with an 18-24 record. Playing much better under Woodson, the Knicks finished the season seventh in the Eastern Conference and were set to take on the Miami Heat in the opening round of the playoffs. The Heat eliminated the Knicks and went on to win the championship. The 2012-2013 season proved to be one of the best for the Knicks in recent history. Anthony won the NBA scoring title and led the Knicks to a 54-28 record, along with their first division title in nearly 20 years. The Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics in six games in the first round of the playoffs, giving them their first playoff series win in over ten years. Even though the Knicks fell to the Indiana Pacers in the second round, Knicks fans were pleased to finally see their team win a playoff series and the future did not seem dull.
Surprisingly, Knicks fans were wrong. The Knicks have struggled since their playoff exit against the Pacers. In fact, the Knicks haven’t had a winning season since 2012-2013. As frustrating as this seems for Knicks fans, young star Kristaps Porzingis provides hope for the future. Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, joining Russell Westbrook and newly acquired Paul George in hopes of building a team that could compete with the Golden State Warriors. The star-studded Thunder are currently struggling and have a disappointing 12-14 record.
Why does a player who has dominated in scoring throughout his career only have three playoff series wins? Is it the fact that he was drafted in a draft class with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh? Bosh, Wade, James, and Darko
Milicic (four of the top five draft picks excluding Anthony) have all won at least one NBA championship. Carmelo Anthony, who has clearly dominated basketball more than Darko Milicic, has played in one conference final. Is Carmelo a cancer to his team? Some people believe that Anthony actually hurts the team he is playing for because he demands the ball too much. He knows that he is a former scoring champion and is arguably one of the greatest scorers ever. How good can Carmelo Anthony really be if he only has three playoff series victories in a fourteen-year career?