New York Knicks: Why Carmelo Anthony Isn’t An ‘Underrated’ Star


New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony says he’s one of most ‘underrated’ stars in the NBA. Is he really, though?

It’s simple, and it’s everything New York Knicks fans don’t want to hear.

There’s a reason why Carmelo Anthony says he’s the most underrated star in the NBA. It’s because — he is.

Per ESPN, Carmelo Anthony told Chris Broussard that he felt as if he was the most underrated star in the league.

"“I think I’m the most underrated superstar that’s out there (laughs) but that doesn’t matter to me,” Anthony told ESPN’s Chris Broussard."

Now that the backstory has been introduced, let’s get to the meat of the problem — why Melo is one of the most, if not the most, underrated star in the NBA?

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For one, we can eliminate the younger players from this conversation — the Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving‘s. They’ll have their time soon enough. But I’d like to limit who we’re inserting into this category that Melo is referencing.

After all, most believe that Melo is a star on the same breath with the players I just mentioned. His problem, I assume, is the fact that his name isn’t thrown in with the likes of the LeBron James, Kevin Durant‘s and Chris Paul‘s of the world.

It’s not, but there’s a reason why it isn’t — anymore.

Thing is, his stats are still very much on par with those guys. Here is how he stacked up against some of the elites in the game last season:

He’s right there.

Let’s rewind to a few years ago, before LeBron James had taken his talents to South Beach and then back to Cleveland.

At that time, for some, picking between LeBron and Melo was somewhat of a tossup. Many still sided with Melo. However, it all changed once LeBron won his first chip in the NBA. That matters.

Not a Winner

Melo is “underrated” because he hasn’t won anything (in the NBA) yet.

Here is a brief history of Melo’s playoff fate while in the NBA:

  • 2003-04 (rookie season): lost in the first round to Minnesota
  • 2004-05: lost in the first round to San Antonio
  • 2005-06: lost in the first round to the Los Angeles Clippers
  • 2006-07: lost in the first round to San Antonio
  • 2007-08: lost in the first round to the Los Angeles Lakers
  • 2008-09: won two playoff series, then fell in the Western Conference Finals to LAL
  • 2009-10: lost in the first round to Utah
  • 2010-11 (traded to Knicks): lost in the first round to Boston
  • 2011-12: lost in the first round to Miami
  • 2012-13: won one playoff series, then lost in the conference semifinals to Indiana.

Melo has been to the playoffs 10 times in his career; he’s only won three playoff series. In most people’s books, in order to be in the upper echelon of NBA stars, you have to win in the playoffs. Melo hasn’t displayed that by any means.

And while you can simply point to the lack of talent on his roster, or the fact that he played in the Western Conference for the majority of his career, that sure didn’t cause Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan to fail in the playoffs that many times.

Winning is a big part of why Melo is “underrated” in this league.

Optional Type Tendencies

The second part of reasoning is that Melo is somewhat thought of as a “one-trick pony.” Many view Melo as a scorer, and not much else. For him, at times, defense is optional.

He doesn’t make his teammates better, like a LeBron James. And he doesn’t play defense, at least that’s what his reputation states.

While I feel like his lack of defensive skills are a bit overblown, I’m also not under the assumption that he’s a defensive player of the year candidate. He’s not. Although, it should be known that he’s not James Harden bad on defense.

Historically, Melo hasn’t exactly been on, per say, bad defensive teams, but he also hasn’t been on great ones. I believe that is a huge part of the “bad defender” label that often gets tagged on him.

Here are Melo’s team’s defensive ratings throughout his career in the league:

  • 2003-04: 14th — 99.9
  • 2004-05: 8th — 100.7
  • 2005-06: 12th — 102.1
  • 2006-07: 9th — 102.7
  • 2007-08: 9th — 103.2
  • 2008-09: 8th — 103.5
  • 2009-10: 16th — 104.7
  • 2010-11 (traded to Knicks): 21st: 106.9
  • 2011-12: 5th — 98.4
  • 2012-13: 14th — 103.5

Again, not the worst but not the best either. That matters.

Not a Great Teammate?

Another point of reasoning behind Melo not being categorized as an elite star by many is the fact that no one is going out of there way to play with him. During his few years in New York, Melo hasn’t really recruited anyone to play with him. In fact, New York is still struggling to get that second star.

While this premise won’t be completed until after the summer of 2015, when New York actually has a chance to openly, and freely, sign a free agent of their choice, it’s quite interesting to see the lack of interest that is out there to play for the Knicks. And that’s a Knicks team that already has a “star” in place.

Behind all that could be the underlaying reason: no one wants to play with Carmelo Anthony.

Is he a bad teammate, or do other NBA “stars” simply feel that they can’t play alongside a player like Melo? We don’t know.

Other than LeBron and Dwyane Wade, back in 2010, has anyone “wanted” to play beside Melo? The original plan of LeBron James and Wade was to play alongside Melo in Miami — not Bosh. However, Melo decided to sign a longer deal, with more money, in Denver which eliminated such possibilities.

I can’t really pinpoint one player who has openly said that.

Perhaps that fact clarifies the reasoning behind Melo’s “one-trick pony” style of play, and the fact that he doesn’t make his teammates better. I could just be reading between the lines, but some proof is there.

In essence, there’s a reason why Melo is an “underrated” star in the NBA. Though, after overlooking all the proof, there’s a bigger question that we have to ask in the first place.

Forget “most overrated star,” is Melo still a star in the first place?

*All stats courtesy of