You know he’s on fire when he’s putting the 3 fingers to the headband like the pic above. If there was such thing as the Most Improved Superstar in the NBA, New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony would be the clear winner of this award. Carmelo has always been a great scorer and in my opinion the best scorer in the NBA for a while now but has always been criticized for not being a leader, being a one dimensional player or not being a winner. This season he turned that around becoming a better leader, better defender and was a major reason why New York won the Atlantic Division to go along with 54 wins.
This season he won a scoring title for the first time in his 10-year career averaging 28.7 points per game to dethrone Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant who won the title the previous 3 seasons. As great as a scorer Melo is, it feels like this was long overdue. He did it by improving his shooting in every category from the 2011-2012 season. His overall field goal percentage went up to .449 from .430, 3-point percentage .379 up from .335 and free throws .830 up from .804. And he did this by taking smarter shots, being more aggresive and getting to the foul line more. Although his assists numbers were down to just 2.6, he was still facilitating out on the floor. Averaging nearly 7 rebounds a game he did have a few big rebounding games in April where he grabbed 14, 12, 19 and 14. He is still not a great defender and may never be one but he has put much more focus on the defensive end this season.
His major improvement as a player was noticed by the league and won NBA Player of the Month for April. That being the only month of the season Lebron James did not win. He has made a great case for runner up at MVP this season (I really don’t think there is even a debate on who gets the award this year) and has a good chance to make it to the Conference Finals and erasing some of the notion that he is not a winner. If he can get his team that far then the NBA finals is not too far out of reach even if they play the Miami Heat. It looks like Melo has finally stepped out the shadows of Dwyane Wade and Lebron James although he doesn’t have a ring, he has earned much respect and worked hard to get it.