NBA players really respect Carmelo Anthony. While the New York Knicks star is one of the better players in the league, NBA analysts and junkies have soured on Melo over the years. His flaws have been emphasized in coverage of him and the value of his scoring has become less and less accepted over the years. Some critics believe he kills the flow of the offense and doesn't play enough team basketball to be consistently mentioned over the years with fellow draft classmate LeBron James and other superstars.
That doesn't stop current players from appreciating just how hard it is for Melo to do what he does. Former Knicks teammate Amar'e Stoudemire certainly believes in the power of Anthony. In a letter on the Players Tribune, Stoudemire said that Melo is the best pure scorer in the NBA. The ease with which Melo with very solid efficiency is impressive to Stoudemire. He even said at Anthony's best, it's just a different game for him.
Last, but definitely not least, Carmelo Anthony. I think he's the best pure scorer in the NBA. It just comes so easy to him. When he's at his best, he's playing an entirely different game than the rest of us. That night when he scored 62 at the Garden, that was easy for him. He could have gotten 70, maybe more. He just flowed out there on the court. That's what the game is all about, getting to a level like Carmelo is on. When a great player performs like that, it's fun to watch. I should know, I was there.
In an NBA environment with so many analytics and debates about advanced stats, Carmelo can end up being a very divisive figure. Some people still very much believe in the defensive attention Anthony demands on a possession by possession basis. But if the rest of the team isn't benefiting from that attention with ball movement from Melo, then that's where his critics become their most combative. That and he's not much of a defender.
Anthony has scored over 22,000 points in his career. His career scoring average of 24.9 points ranks him 13th all time. This past season, we saw a dip in scoring for Carmelo as his 21.8 points per game was the lowest output of his career since his second season in the NBA. At this point and really over the last five years, it's hard not to say that Kevin Durant can be bested as the top pure scorer in the NBA. If you live every day like it's Throwback Thursday then you've put Kobe Bryant over Melo during this stretch too. You can throw Stephen Curry above Melo right now.
The advantage Melo has always had over his peers is the post game, but Durant's post game has evolved past what Anthony does. He scores from everywhere while Melo is more of a bully in what he does as he attacks the basket. For a couple of years after joining the Knicks, Anthony added a deadly 3-point shot to his arsenal to help his case but that's dropped to 34 percent over his last couple seasons. Either way, Melo is awesome at scoring and his peers agree. He's just not the best pure scorer in the NBA anymore.
Still being in the conversation is impressive though.