Carmelo Anthony dazzled once again on Wednesday night donning the red white and blue, leading team USA to a hard fought 98-88 win over Australia.
The game was closer than the final score indicated, with Australia leading for the majority of both halves, and the United States needing every one of Melo’s clutch buckets down the stretch.
He reminded us what a special talent he still is, and how good he can be when surrounded other stars.
But how far can a Carmelo-led team go in the playoffs?
I’ll start off by saying that a team led by Melo, like this year’s Knicks will most likely be, will never be title contenders.
They’ll be playoff contenders at best, and a second round appearance is the only realistic goal for any Melo-led team to shoot for.
Playing second-fiddle to someone is the only option Anthony has if he wants to make a deep playoff run at this point, much like the LeBron-Kyrie duo that we witnessed in this year’s NBA Finals.
Before the series, and even as the series progressed, Kyrie was drawing comparisons to Anthony, and they were both being branded as talented scorers that dominate the ball too much to be apart of a championship team.
And it’s not like Kyrie altered his game in any way throughout the series. He was still a ball-dominant guard who needed ball in his hands to be effective.
The difference was he did a great job picking his spots, attacking mismatches, but also knowing when the sit back and allow LeBron to do his thing.
Although this is a great formula for the Knicks to follow, it’s also an impossible one for any team that doesn’t have LeBron James.
The only way for the Knicks to maximize and convert Melo’s considerable talents into wins is if Derrick Rose returns to his 2011 self, and New York develops a pecking order with Rose as the alpha and Anthony as the beta.
But this is another impossible notion, as Rose has been nothing more than an average point guard since he tore his ACL in the 2011 postseason.
So to answer the question, no, a Carmelo-led team cannot make a postseason run. A team with Melo as the main man should have second round aspirations at best, and unless the Knicks can miraculously land another true superstar, they should have similar expectations for the upcoming season.