When I heard Georg Karl’s criticism of Carmelo Anthony I laughed because If Melo was such a disruptive force why didn’t he do anything about it? I know he had a great coaching career turning around teams but let’s face facts here-without Melo the Nuggets never make it to the Conference Finals in 2009.
Great scorers always get passengers on the hate train in this sport because most are streaky and when tough streaks happen great scorers don’t run and hide and Carmelo never does. The other troubling thing is Karl took on other members of that team as well like JR Smith and Kenyon Martin both of which I firmly believe are players with weaknesses but never dog it. Are they confident? Absolutely but really not selfish if you get to know them. I can tell you this trio of players would be welcome on my team if I were an NBA coach because they care.
The Melo case is simple—he is a prolific scorer who is NEVER afraid to take the ball at crunch time and I remember those days in Denver with Karl extoling the virtues of Anthony which makes me stop and wonder if he is merely trying to get people to buy his book. But Karl is not alone-people love piling on Anthony who delivered a title to Syracuse when most thought he would not-much in the same way Patrick Ewing delivered a title to Georgetown. And he was never really credited for that either but the treatment of Ewing is a topic for another day.
This Knick team has begun to turn the corner and it is because Melo finally has a workable supporting cast but make no mistake-his presence means as much as anyone else in that room. Much in the same way it did in that Nugget room whether George Karl wants to admit it or not. Anthony talked about it after last night’s game choosing not to engage in a long distance debate with Karl—preferring to let ex-teammates do the talking which is typical Carmelo.
I cover the Mets on a day-to-day basis but in off-season cover the Knicks more than any winter sports team in New York. And I can safely tell you I have NEVER seen him act like the way his former coach describes him-a selfish arrogant player. He has had some bad moments here but always takes accountability-which is more than I can say for Karl who chose to lash out at his star player years after they parted ways and never addressed it while coaching him. From a coach who had already accomplished so much, why would he turn a deaf ear to his star player taking an approach that was detrimental to the team? It is a question I wish Karl would answer.