Carmelo Anthony pays attention to public perception.
Well, okay, maybe not all public perception. But he definitely takes stock of where ESPN places him within its annual #NBA Rank.
Professional athletes have egos. We know this. They’re confident. They wouldn’t be where they are without that sometimes-psychopathic sense of self. And Anthony is no different. He still fancies himself a superstar. He’s spent his entire career running in the same circle as LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, et al., even though he has seldom deserved to get those same-breath mentions. He probably wouldn’t have been happy to finish No. 31 again. Anything outside the top 20 probably ruffles his feathers.
And, on some level, his outrage might be justified. These rankings are arbitrary. ESPN isn’t the only one that does them. Opinions vary. Spit happens. But to place him behind Lonzo Ball, who has yet to even appear in an NBA game, is no doubt egregious.
The idea that Anthony should be much higher than this, though? That’s equally off-base.
Perhaps he’s still a top-50 player. He’s certainly one of the NBA’s 10 to 20 best pure scorers. But his defense is almost nonexistent, and his point-forward ceiling has fluctuated by season. Bake in the fact that he’s now 33, and it’s not hard to adequately spin a substantive drop. So while his outrage has a leg on which to stand, the argument for him to surge up these standings is flimsy at best.