Carmelo Anthony: Is He the Midseason MVP?

Steph Curry has been brilliant(32.2 points per game on a wicked .529 shooting from the floor and .465 from beyond the 3-point line), and the Warriors have been just as good. Westbrook has been great for a year and a half, but playing with Durant this year has to have an advantage. Last year’s runner up, James Harden hasn’t been as good as he was last year.

Kawhi Leonard is having the year many thought he would have last year, Paul George has been solid since returning from his nasty injury, and Lebron is well, Lebron.

New MVP candidates including Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, are making a case.

But Carmelo has been a different player this year. He hasn’t been the black hole on offense that he usually is, and the Knicks are winning. Over the Knicks last 6 games, Carmelo Anthony has dished out 30 assists and committed just 7 turnovers.

Anthony’s shots per game (17.8) and scoring average (21.7) are his lowest since his second season. His assists per game (3.84) are the highest in his 13-year career.

“It all starts with the trust we have now and [that]all starts with Carmelo,” said rookie Kristaps Porzingis. “He’s been the guy, the real leader. He’s been passing the ball and trusting his teammates. Trusting us that we’re going to make the right decision.”

Leading by example is important for the elder Carmelo, who many say his career hasn’t lived up to what it could have been. All that would change if he could bring a championship to New York. That isn’t any task.

Anthony, who has two career triple-doubles, has flirted with three this season, and last week in San Antonio he made the right pass to Jose Calderon for the win as the buzzer sounded. Calderon missed the shot, and Melo had to be consoled by coach Derek Fisher. Fisher told Melo that he made the right play, he was triple teamed, and Calderon was open.

Again, the black hole that was Carmelo Anthony in his first few years with the Knicks is gone. He hasn’t turned into Magic Johnson sharing the rock, but he doesn’t look like Kobe Bryant anymore either.

“It’s great when guys are just letting the game come to them and letting it happen, rather than trying force the extra pass or trying to force somebody to get going,” Anthony said.

The Knicks aren’t having a year like the Warriors or Spurs at just 19-20, but that is 2 more wins than last year with a young team developing.

Former Knicks coach and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t see that much of a change in Anthony. The one thing he noted was that his decision-making has been quicker because he isn’t holding the ball as much. But Van Gundy believes Anthony was always a willing passer and has much better players to pass to now.

“You’re willing to trust talent more than you are non-talent,” Van Gundy said. “When you have better players around you, you get better results, which I think breeds more trust.

“Their team this year is so much better constructed. It fits better together. I think it’s as much about maybe what he’s doing a little bit differently but also about who he’s surrounded by.”

So is Carmelo Anthony the leader for the MVP right now? No. He is maybe in the discussion of top 10 guys. The Knicks aren’t good enough for one, and Curry’s season so far has been light years beyond any other player.

The new look Melo might help the Knicks get into the playoffs, they are currently in the 10th spot, and he is setting an example for the younger players on the squad.

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