NY Knicks: Who was the better small forward? Bernard King or Carmelo Anthony

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NY Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, NY Knicks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks: Carmelo Anthony couldn’t carry the team far

Neither of these guys ever won a ring, they never made the finals, they never even made the conference finals during their time in New York.

Carmelo’s NY Knicks had the misfortune of overlapping with the Heatles. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh’s Miami Heat.  Defeating that team during their heyday would have been a tall order, but add a couple of unfortunate injuries to the Knick’s mix and any chance of getting out of the East evaporated like smoke. He missed the playoffs entirely from 2014-17.

Having LeBron James as a lifelong rival is one of the crueler jokes of Carmelo Anthony’s career.  That despite being a perennial All-Star and first-ballot Hall of Famer, he will forever pale in comparison to the legend that is LeBron. Still, Melo could have put up more of a fight in the postseason.

His NY Knicks teams were marketed as instant contenders. The savior of New York!  The return of the Knicks!  While in reality they made the playoffs thrice and won a series once.  Swept in 2011 by the Garnett Celtics, then in 2012 were spanked by LeBron’s Heat, then in 2013 losing in the second round to Paul George’s Pacers.

Yes, Carmelo’s 2nd man Amar’e Stoudemire was a walking knee injury, and his inability to stay healthy was a constant threat to the NY Knicks’ deep playoff hopes, but really Melo’s teams just lost.  Simple as that.

Anthony’s personal playoff stats are solid. The raw numbers are what pop out at you, 28 points and 8 rebounds for his Knicks playoff career including a gallant 42-piece in 2011, but the totals can be deceiving. The turd in the Melo playoff punchbowl is his 40.4% from the field and 29.7% from three on 25 shots a game.

Melo always carried himself like he was the best guy on the floor, when he was hitting it was awesome, but he couldn’t shift gears when his shots weren’t falling.

NY Knicks: Bernard King had even less help…

During his four seasons with the NY Knicks, Bernard King made the playoffs twice, going to the second round each time. That’s already better than Carmelo’s 3 postseasons in 7 years.

You could argue that those later years can’t be counted against Melo because of the weak roster around him, but that didn’t stop King.  I know I’ve mentioned a few times how bad Bernard King’s supporting cast was for those mid-80s playoff runs, but let’s go a little more in-depth on who was flanking this guy.

Over his four seasons with the Knicks, King’s best teammates were Bill Cartwright, Pat Cummings, Ray Williams, and a way-too-young Patrick Ewing.  He never had a co-all star in New York, he never played with another 18+ point scorer, he never played with a bag of chips, and yet King still carried his teams to the first round and beyond.

Where Carmelo Anthony’s efficiency slipped in the playoffs, Bernard King’s only improved.  In 1983 King overcame a New Jersey Nets team featuring All-Stars Otis Birdsong, Michael Ray Richardson, and Buck Williams.  King would average 29 points a game in that series shooting 62% from the field.  He also had a solid second round (21 points per on 54% shooting) but lost to the eventual champion Philadelphia 76ers (a team Moses Malone and Dr. J).

1984 King had an even more impressive playoff run.  Coming up against a younger iteration of the bad boy Pistons, featuring an already formidable point guard named Isiah Thomas, King played out of his mind.  Averaging 43 points a game (yes, 43) with 8 rebounds, shooting 60.4% from the field over the course of a 3-2, best of five series.

King went on to lose in 7 games to the eventual champion Boston Celtics.  Again averaging huge point totals on crazy efficiency.  Again, he brought a 62-win eventual title team featuring 4 Hall of Famers and a prime Larry Bird to a game 7 while being flanked by Bill Cartwright and Ray Williams.

Beat that Melo.