The MVP award is the most prestigious regular season accolade a player can receive in the NBA today. It’s awarded to the player who has the most “value” and “impact” on their team. This impact can manifest into different successes: getting your team to playoffs, monstrous individual stats, or spearheading a playoff contender turn title contender. But the common denominator among all MVP contenders like All-Stars, is the fact that they’re the best player(s) on the best teams in the league. For the New York Knicks this criteria fits Carmelo Anthony’s resume and here I give three reasons why Melo will be a contender for this significant honor next season.
1. Melo will redefine his game.
Typically Melo is known as strictly a “scorer” but he now wants to be known as more than that:
“For me personally, I’m in my 10th year,’’ Anthony said. “Everyone pretty much knows I can score the basketball. But for me to challenge myself, instill the trust into my teammates to give them that confidence when they do shoot the ball, to have that confidence that they can make it happen as well.
Melo is showing maturity, leadership, and most importantly trust for his fellow teammates by trying to get them more involved in the offense. Melo will still score the ball–something he’s best in the world at–but he will now use his versatility to also make him a tough cover. As a result, Melo will make wiser decisions with the ball and have more efficient opportunities at the basket with more threats besides himself.
Also with less offensive burden, Melo should be more committed, rested, and motivated to defend and rebound. Melo has enough length, size, and lateral quickness to be a decent perimeter defender that the Knicks would greatly appreciate.
2. Melo will be out to prove his critics wrong.
Since taking his talents to the Big Apple, critics, players, and fans alike have questioned the coexistence of Anthony and fellow All-Star teammate, Amar’e Stoudemire:
“A lot of times we keep hearing about we can’t coexist,’’ Stoudemire said. “First, people don’t realize the first year we played together, we had a huge trade, we lost six players, got six players I hadn’t played with before. The lockout year, we got off to a slow start and had a coaching change at midseason. This year is a great test for us with a full training camp and coaching staff. We’ll have a full year. It’ll be a great year for us.’’
If Melo and Stoudemire can turn things around this season, it will only better Melo’s MVP candidacy. The chemistry issues between Melo and Stoudemire is something that they can both work on but Melo’s adjustment to this criticism will work in his favor if they can both coexist successfully this season.
As I mentioned earlier, Anthony should be a more willing defender this season–an aspect of his game that has been far too inconsistent. If Anthony can defend on a consistent basis and become a “stopper” it will go a long way in changing the perception of Melo as only a “scorer.”
3. Melo will be bringing Olympic Gold Conditioning and Mentality.
Winning Gold this summer with the USA team is the biggest reason why Melo will be an MVP contender next season simply because of what it entailed.
Melo was on a team with the best players on the planet, All-Stars, MVPS, Scoring Champs, elite defenders, and NBA Champions but yet still had a significant impact on this team. This impressive showing will only motivate Melo to prove to the NBA Universe that he can be “the guy” not only for the Knicks but in the NBA as well.
On top of this, Melo will not have to play himself into shape during camp since he will game ready from playing most of the summer. His eagerness and focus should rub off positively for his teammates.
As a result, Melo will be a contender for the MVP award as long as he stays focus, gets his teammates more involved, and he becomes a better defender.