Another 1st Round over and once again Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets are sitting at home doing nothing. This was the year that was supposed to be different. The Nuggets made it to the 2nd Round last year, and they even bloodied the mighty Lakers at different points in the series. This year, they looked like the team to beat earlier in the season. They found themselves waffling between the 1st and 2nd position in the conference. Then it fell apart.
People will want to blame the downfall on the various and serious illnesses that were suffered by head coach George Karl. It’s a good excuse, but I see it as a missed opportunity. It was Carmelo’s chance to step it up and take leadership of this team. It never seemed to happen.
Now understand I am a HUGE Melo fan. Not only is he considered by many to be Baltimore’s favorite son, he also was legendary in the 2003 NCAA Tourney where he led my beloved Orange to the title. I spent several seasons angry because I feel like he was screwed out of the rookie of the year.It only got worse as he was forced to play second fiddle to King Lebron on a regular basis.
While I felt like it was unwarranted in to the early years, I’m starting to come around. The Cavaliers are arguably the most dominant team in basketball. They have been to 2 conference finals. They are led by Lebron. The Nuggets are a good team. They can beat anyone on a given night. They will make the playoffs. And they are led by Chauncy Billups NOT Carmelo Anthony.
So I am wondering, what has Carmelo done over the past few years? He has learned not to be in “no snitching” videos. He has learned to not get in fights on the court. He has learned to score 25-30 points a game AND do nothing else.
I’m not saying Melo is not a good player. I’m not saying he isn’t a great player. He just seems to lack the “it” that the real greats had. We have seen “it” in Dwayne Wade. We have seen “it” in Lebron. We see “it” in Kobe. This “it” is the ability to elevate your team to the next level when it counts. You don’t have to have won a title to have “it” but you have to be clutch time after time after time.
It’s not too late for him. He still isn’t even 30. He might need a change of scenery. He might need the right coach to get it out of him. He might need to the right supporting cast around him. We know he is capable of “it.” We saw “it” when he was 19 years old. It’s time we saw “it” in his late 20’s.