This question has percolated through NBA circles for years: Can Carmelo Anthony lead a title team?
We're all well aware Anthony is one of the NBA's foremost scorers, but can he lead a team to an NBA championship? The answer was clear when Anthony played for the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference. His team made it to the Western Conference finals once in eight years. Now, as the lead
MORE: Carter: Howard is a big 'crybaby' | Cavs, Bennett struggles continue | DraftStreet: Play daily fantasy
Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (via ProBasketballTalk) asked four NBA executives if Anthony could be the focal point of a championship team, and here is what one executive had to say:
“I love him as a player. I just don’t think he’s your alpha male. He can’t be your No. 1 guy. He’s kind of like Clyde Drexler. As the alpha male in Portland, Clyde never got over the top. But when he went to Houston and was the No. 2 guy to Hakeem Olajuwon, he won… I would love to have him as a second guy. But as your alpha male? He’s not going to win anything like that. He’s kind of like the 2013 version of Stephon Marbury. He’s not as bad as Stephon, but he’s got Steph tendencies.”
The opinion on Anthony as an alpha dog is valid, but it should be pointed out that Drexler ran into Michael Jordan as the main player for the Portland Trail Blazers. When he played as No. 2 for the Rockets, Jordan was off playing baseball.
It's tough to have Anthony as your best player, because he plays with singular focus. He can score in multiple ways, but his ability is geared toward scoring.
There's also the subject of defense. In critical moments, the Miami Heat's LeBron James is willing to take on the other team's best player. He's done so on several occasion, shutting down players from Al Jefferson to Derrick Rose. To be clear, the height range between Jefferson and Rose is 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-3, respectively, and James is 6-foot-8.
Anthony has never been known for defense, and several of his teammates share the same approach. The current Knicks roster is not built to win a title with Anthony, and it certainly can't contend without Anthony. Whether he will ever be capable of leading a title team is yet to be seen, but the popular opinion is that he can't. To this point, it holds up.