LeBron James is heading back to the Finals, his 5th straight appearance, and it’s hard to believe he entered the league a dozen years ago. The 2003 NBA draft is considered one of the best in the history of the league. Several future Hall of Famers were taken, and helped usher in a new era in the NBA. Out of the top five picks, Darko Milicic is the the odd man out since he never lived up to expectations and had only a journeyman career in the league. However, when looking at championships, Carmelo Anthony is actually the one left out. Lebron, Wade and Bosh have all won titles. But as he enters the second half of his career on a bad Knicks team, some wonder if Melo will ever reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Melo obviously won a national championship in his only season at the college level. After helping Syracuse reach new heights, many thought his winning ways would be fairly easy to come by in the NBA as well. He has certainly been able to put up some nice numbers in daily fantasy NBA, but many critics look at him is a flawed teammate. He’s been on decent teams in both Denver and New York, but none that were great. And he’s still looking for his first trip to the NBA finals.
At the beginning of his career, the Nuggets were solid, but never a true contender. They had some playoff runs, but nothing crazy. He became unsettled in Colorado, and forced a trade to the Knicks. Despite being in a big market with New York, they have been unable to build a quality team around him.
Next month is the 12th anniversary of that memorable 2003 NBA draft. It might be hard to realize, but time is starting to run out for Anthony to become a champion. He decided to sign a new long-term contract last summer with the Knicks, so he’s likely going to spend the rest of his prime with New York. He will certainly be in the spotlight, but it could be for all the wrong reasons if next year goes like this year. As he watches his contemporaries Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh win multiple rings, it has to be tough for Anthony to realize his best days might already be behind him.