by Paul West
I’ve been saying it all season, and I said it when we traded a bunch of ‘more than the sum of their parts’ players for him, making the Denver Nuggets one of the best teams in the league since the trade before losing key parts to injury. The following quote is telling:
“I don’t play with pressure, I can’t do it, it’s no way I can perform under pressure…I won’t allow myself to do that mentally, to go out there and play under pressure.”
I know that he was somewhat speaking in context, but still–even the fact that he chose those words shows that his presence of mind can be lacking. and I see it as a bit of a slip. Melo can play under pressure, to the extent that he’s gonna shoot voluminously regardless of the situation and the fact that he’s an elite scorer will mean that some of his shots will go in late in a game–but that’s not the same thing as responding well to pressure, which he doesn’t, in my estimation. I don’t think he’s a leader, and I don’t think he’s a true “core guy” that you’d want to build a team around. I’m not just talking about his playoff record, for the record; lots of people whom I consider to be clutch guys have bad playoff records, due to injury or circumstance. What I am saying is that Carmelo Anthony is not a guy who makes teams exceed their sum. And with J.R. Smith–another high volume shooter, but also much more of a ‘glue guy’–out, the Knicks are in real trouble.