I really thought we were past this. The 27 game-winning shots, the 25 ppg/6 rpg career, his current 30 pts/2 steals per game pace, the ocassionally brilliant interior passing, the highlight reel finishes, last year's franchise-best playoff run - I thought all this was sufficient to silence any remaining doubts about how crazyluckyrich the Nugs struck it when the Pistons took Darko and the XXL pot of gold known as Carmelo Anthony dropped into our laps.
But no. Every time the Nugs drop a game (which is known to happen in the course of an 82-game season, BTW, even on the best of teams), I see fans coming out of the woodwork to pin our woes on Anthony: he's selfish, he drives too much when he's not getting calls, the offense stops to watch when he's in isolation etc etc.
News flash: these are the side effects of having a player on your roster who is simply THAT GOOD. On any given night, these very same issues afflict the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, the Heat with Dwayne Wade, and the Cavs with LeBron James. Yet I don't hear their fans complaining. Would you rather we didn't have Melo and his automatic 25 & 5 a night? Besides Bryant, Wade, James, and maybe Dwight Howard, is there another player in the league you'd rather have? A player who gives us more night-in, night-out than we get with Melo?
Which leads me to this: BE GRATEFUL we have a player who puts the game on his shoulders when the rest of the team struggles (as we often have with this season with a misfiring Chauncey, a nicked-up Bird, and 7 games sans JR). BE GRATEFUL that Melo keeps taking it to the rack even when the calls don't go his way (would you rather he settle for long jumpers, as he did early in his career?). DON'T blame him for the stand-n-watch that goes on when he's got the ball (he can't MAKE the other four guys move), and quit acting like it's his job to get everyone else involved in the offense. Last I checked, Melo plays SF, not PG, and when the ball is in his hands, he SHOULD be trying to score. We didn't give him that max contract 'cus he's Steve Nash - we gave it to him because he's arguably the league's most natural and consistent scorer.
So please, next time you're getting ready to call him out after he or the Nugs have a bad game, just ask yourself: where would the Nuggets be without Melo? My guess is we'd be in the same place we were before he got here: scratching & clawing with the dregs of the league, dreaming of one day making it back to the playoffs. Whatever bumps he's hit (and will continue to hit - he's human) along the way, his accomplishments with and for the franchise over the past six-plus seasons have earned him the benefit of the doubt.
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