Amar’e Stoudemire was the first player to drag the Knicks away from being a laughingstock, but Melo was the player who brought them back to relevance. Did they come close to winning a championship? No, but that’s the price of playing in the conference that has LeBron James.
Anthony did help restore the Knicks’ winning ways in his first three seasons, including a 54-28 record and No. 2 seed in the East in 2012-13. He also led the NBA in scoring that season. Madison Square Garden celebrates great players, and Anthony could bring those in the arena to their feet with game-winners and incredible individual performances. The decision to deal the fan favorite was made by a front office leader who is no longer around. A tribute video was the right thing to do.
What’s important is he already has the tools to match up with some of the biggest names in the league, and he should only get better as he becomes more comfortable with the NBA game.
Put it all together, and it’s easy to see why scouts were raving about his potential on defense heading into the 2017 NBA Draft.
While his on-court demeanor could be confused for arrogance, his basketball IQ often helped the Clippers win games they probably shouldn’t have, and some of his teammates’ best highlights would not have been possible without his initial pass. If you’re wondering what he’s truly worth, look at where the Clippers finish in this year’s standings and then look at the Rockets’ record with Paul in the lineup. That should tell you everything you need to know.
In his first career start, Anunoby was tasked with guarding James Harden, last season’s runner-up for MVP and this season’s favorite to win the award. Although Harden finished the game with 38 points, he shot only 8-for-25 from the field and 3-for-11 from the 3-point line. He also flirted with a triple-double by dishing out 11 assists and grabbing six rebounds, but those numbers came with a season-high nine turnovers in a 16-point loss to the Raptors in Houston.
It was an inefficient performance for Harden, and Anunoby was a big reason why. At 6-8 with a 7-0 wingspan, Anunoby has the size and length to match up with the league’s best perimeter players. He has the foot speed to keep up with them off the dribble as well, giving him the tools to comfortably switch onto at least three positions and potentially all five positions depending on how small teams go at center. (Anunoby switching onto a traditional center isn’t even a huge mismatch because he has the strength and length to fight with them in the post.)