Photo: Flickr/Keith Allison
Last night, the New York Knicks (finally) landed Carmelo Anthony in a three-team deal. With ‘Melo joining Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks now have two players that have averaged more than 50 points per game combined this season.But are these two “superstars” enough to make the Knickerbockers a contender?
The NBA is superstar league. Outside of the 2004 Detroit Pistons, you have to go all the way back to the 1979 Seattle Supersonics, led by Jack Sikma and Gus Williams, to find an NBA champion without a legit superstar. And with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and The Tall One joining forces in South Beach this year, the league may be becoming one where one superstar is not enough.
Carmelo and Stoudemire were two of the 10 starters in this past weekend’s All-Star game, so they certainly fulfil the popularity aspect of the “superstar” definition. But if we look at the numbers, neither are among the best in the NBA.
Here is a look at the top players in the NBA over the last three seasons. Win Shares (per 82 games) is a look at how many wins a player is worth for every 82 games played. WS looks a player’s all-around game including both offensive and defensive contributions.
This list includes every player that averaged at least 10 WS per 82 games over the last three seasons and how Carmelo (and Amare) compares to that group.
As we can see, despite averaging 25.5 points per game and almost seven rebounds per game, Anthony is not even among the 15 best players in the NBA. In fact, Carmelo hasn’t even been the best player on the Denver Nuggets the past three years. Nene Hilario has averaged 10.5 WS/82.
Anthony is without a doubt a good scorer. But it also takes him a lot of shots to get his points (.452 FG% this season), he turns the ball over (2.8 per game), he fouls (2.7 per game), and he offers very little defensively. Of his WS/82, only 2.8 come via the defensive side of the ball. By comparison, LeBron James contributes 6.0 wins per season just on defence.
The Knicks have two very good players. And playing in New York will only enhance their superstar status. But neither player is among the NBA’s best. And the Knicks are going to need more than just two “very good” players.
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