More specifically, can Carmelo fill Pierce’s shoes and lead Denver to an NBA Title?
For that to happen, Carmelo has to be something he has yet to be in his in his career. The guy who can ‘will’ his team to playoff wins.
He must become the true go to guy when defenses are shutting down his on court brethren. When points are hard to come by, Carmelo must be the guy they count on to deliver. And he must deliver.
He must also be the big time NBA star who plays defense that impacts the game.
He must be the player that says, ‘We will not lose this game.’ And then goes out makes that reality. He must make big plays at either end of the court.
In short, he must become something closer to Paul Pierce or Kobe Bryant than he has so far in his career. He must step out of their shadows… and become them.
Is there a Paul Pierce or a Kobe Bryant ‘side’ to the NBA star entering the prime of his career?
Carmelo… we know he’s a great scorer, but now we’re asking him to do a lot of other things.
Carmelo has that ability…or shall I say potential to ‘do a lot of other things’ and still be a great scorer. Does he have the mindset? And, more important, does he see it that way?
Carmelo told Celtics Central that he does…
Yeah, I mean, of course. I think I’ve been nothing but that for this team. To be able to know when it’s crunch time that I can make something happen and I will make something happen.
Getting Chauncey, bringing his winning experience over to us, that helped everybody out.
As far as for me…I think my teammates know that when it’s crunch time they know that they can depend on me.
Do you think that this that this year, with or without Kenyon, that you guys can go all the way?
Yes, I do.
Even without Kenyon?
I wouldn’t expect him to say any less. But will they actually do it?
Few pundits expect it. Can Carmelo elevate his game like Paul Pierce or Kobe and take this team farther than you might expect?
I would not expect this team to go far without Kenyon Martin. The Celtics recently a dismantled the Nuggets middle with a gimpy Chris Anderson and Martin out.
But assuming K-Mart comes back for the playoffs, as he is expected to, and is reasonably healthy (tendonitis basically requires rest and inflammation reduction), can this team win an NBA title?
Carmelo will be 26 on May 29. This is his 7th NBA season.
He has a solid, talented roster around him with Billups, Nene, Martin, J.R. Smith, ‘Birdman’ Anderson, Arron Afflalo, and rookie Ty Lawson.
As I was preparing this piece, just by coincidence, Lynn Worthy of the Lowell Sun was making a Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce comparison this very morning.
Television pundits, please continue to place Carmelo Anthony on the highest pedestal you can find. Even though he may slide right off it come playoff time like a six-year-old hitting a Slip ‘n Slide with a full head of steam.
ESPN, keep running that video feature with Anthony spouting off about how he wouldn’t even show up if he had to guard himself.
TNT, cue Charles Barkley with his common refrain about Anthony being the best pure scorer in the NBA.
All I know is that a healthy Paul Pierce made defenders “pick their poison” before Melo ever even stepped foot on the Syracuse University campus. At 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, Pierce has presented the same problems Anthony presents. Only Pierce has done it for 12 NBA seasons and he’s got an NBA championship.
Carmelo gets a lot of media love. He has a huge offensive game. He is a clutch shooter. He attacks the rim for a lot of his scoring. A 37% three point shooter last season, Melo is down to .308 this season.
Pierce needed the right pieces and got them. Carmelo has had a solid core of talented teammates for years now. You can say they have been growing together.
There are some comparisons you can make between the two teams.
When push comes to shove in a game, in a critical point in a game, who is the emotional leader of the Nuggets?
I think (it is) myself. Yeah, I look at myself as that. I try to motivate the guys, get guys to do the right things. Or if I see something in the course of the game…I can say it to them, try to help. I’m going to say it to them. No matters if it’s Chaunce, Melo, Ne, J.R… who ever it is. I look at myself as a leader of this team.
Kevin Garnett is the Celtics emotional leader and defensive leader. While no one on this side of sanity is at the intensity level of Kevin Garnett, Kenyon Martin assumes an identical role on the Nuggets. Like KG, he has health issues. He is out of action right now. How quickly and how completely K-Mart recovers from his knee issue will affect his post season play.
Chauncey Billups is probably Denver’s answer to a combination of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen as the heady point guard who is the head of the offense and hits clutch shots.
Nene is a more versatile and mobile center than Kendrick Perkins. Perkins is a better interior defender.
Eddie House? The Nuggets have J.R. ‘Mansion’ compared to House’s contributions. J. R. Smith is like the ‘Lamar Odom factor’ on the Lakers. When he is on, he changes the game and makes the Nuggets almost impossible to beat.
Shot blocking Chris Andersen has, by far, the best on court/off court rating (+11.3) on the Nuggets. Some say he is over rated. Some say he is under rated. I say he is a great fit for Nuggets.
I’ve always felt that the core of the Denver Nuggets, starting with Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, and Nene Hilario provided enough talent to compete with the NBA’s top teams. Even with Andre Miller and Marcus Camby, for years they underachieved, in my opinion, admittedly a somewhat distant observer.
The Denver Nuggets have been a talented team for a while now. They added Chauncey, gave away Marcus Camby, and moved Nene to starting center. Arron Afflalo has made the most of his move as the Nuggets starting shooting guard with career highs in minutes, points and shooting pct.
Arron gives way to J.R. Smith, a deadly shooter who has been rounding out his game more the past two years.
As Lynn Worthy rightly says about the Celtics…
The Celtics need everyone healthy to make a playoff run, but they need Paul Pierce to take them to another level.
The same is true about the Nuggets.
They need everyone healthy. But it must be Carmelo that takes them to another level.
Kenyon Martin is the emotional leader. Chauncey is said to be the brains and the difference in this team.
But it must be Carmelo embracing a Kobe Bryant or Paul Pierce mindset and role and delivering on that, for this team to break through, and have a real chance at a NBA title.
Those are big shoes to fill. Will Carmelo Anthony finally fill them?