I want to get what I am about to say over with so in retrospect of the suspension Carmelo was wrong to step in and hit Mardy Collins. Regardless of the goon that Collins is, Carmelo should have never put himself in that situation. Especially because it wasn’t he who had been gooned. Nevertheless, I feel that it was a learning experience for Carmelo that put into perspective his impact on this team. And had it not been for the addition of Allen Iverson only two games later, who knows how this team would have fared with their number one scoring option on the bench for 15 games. Chalk it up as a lesson learned and pray that the same kind of tomfoolery doesn’t repeat itself.
But aside from that one incident, Carmelo lived up to the All-World title he claimed at last summer’s FIBA games. He averaged a career-high 28.9 points (finishing second in the NBA only to Kobe Bryant after KB went on a Chamberlain-esque 40 ppg average in March), a career-high 3.8 assists, and tied a career-high average with six boards.
What I really liked about Carmelo Anthony’s game this season was his willingness to rebound more frequently while playing along side Marcus Camby and Nene. It is no secret that those two guys nearly grab a combined 20 rebounds a game. So, the sheer fact that ‘Melo found his way to six boards a game is a very good sign for the Denver Nuggets. ‘Melo has the lower body strength to be a great help on the boards, and with the increased frequency that he can squeeze a carom, outlet the ball, and look to get it back as the trailer. I think that he will raise his rebounding numbers even higher in seasons to come.
As for the rest of his game… the NBA better watch out if ‘Melo gets the three-point line dialed in as he finished the Nuggets most potent deep threat with a 42% average from downtown in the month of April. He has never been that much of a threat from downtown, but if and when he does become consistently proficient from long distance. He will stretch opposing defenses even farther from the basket that will in turn not only open up things for himself, but also for his teammates.
What else is there to say about Carmelo? Could he play better defense? Sure, but couldn’t everybody? Could he turn the ball over a little bit less? Sure, but when you’re asked to make as much happen as he does on the offensive end sometimes things just don’t always go as planned. Could he be more vocal? Sure, but you don’t want him to domineer the rest of the team.
My future outlook on Carmelo is this: You can ask more and more of him, and you’ll probably get it, but he is a true team player that knows what it takes to win on the big stage. It hasn’t happened yet in the NBA, but I am very confident that at some point in his NBA career Carmelo will win a NBA ring. Here’s to hoping it is with the Nuggets and that it is sooner rather than later!