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Carmelo Anthony Or LeBron James: Who Is Better? Why Is That A Question?

Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James? Which NBA superstar would you rather have on your team? This has been a topic of conversation on ESPN Radio's 'Mike & MIke in the Morning' for the past couple of days and, to be honest, I find it astounding that this is even a legitimate question worthy of discussion.

I find it hard to believe that even the most ardent of New York Knicks fans, spurned by LeBron and now pinning their hopes on Carmelo, could make an objective argument that Anthony is the better player. The poll currently being run on the 'Mike & Mike page largely agrees with me, showing 65 percent of respondents voting for James as ther player they would rather have on their team. Frankly, I am surprised the voting is not more lopsided than that.

If you want to tell me that LeBron, in many ways, is not likeable I will go along with that. I hated the way he handled his move to Miami, which he had every right to make even if he did it in an arrogant manner. You want to tell me you hate his 'look at me' chalk toss before every game? I will go along with that. You want to tell me you hate the way he grimaces and acts like he has suffered some sort of serious injury every time he gets hit hard driving to the basket? I am down with that. You want to tell me you think he's an arrogant, spoiled, self-centered, entitled brat and you hope he never wins an NBA title? I'm down with that, too.

If, however, you want to tell me Carmelo Anthony is a better basketball player than LeBron James I am definitely NOT down with that. Especially if you are a New York Knicks fan. Be honest with yourself. You spent two years pining for LeBron, and the Knicks spent two years planning to bring him to Madison Square Garden. Carmelo was Plan B, thought of only after LeBron took his talents to South Beach. Because Anthony is not as good as LeBron. Period.

Greeny and Golic had Hall of Fame analyst and former coach Hubie Brown on Wednesday morning, and he explained all the way in which LeBron trumps Carmelo. He left no doubt how he feels about it.

"I'm taking LeBron James first," said Brown. "Not just because of the points and the rebounds and the shooting percentage, they're about even. Where the separation comes is on the defensive end of the floor."

What, exactly, is it that Carmelo does better than LeBron? I can't think of anything.

  • Scoring? LeBron averages 27.7 points per game for his career, Carmelo 24.8.
  • Passing? LeBron is one of the best passers in the league, averaging 7.0 assists per game for his career. Carmelo averages 3.1 apg.
  • Rebounding? LeBron averages 7.1 rpg and Carmelo 6.3 for their careers.
  • Defense? LeBron has twice been named first-team All-Defensive team. Carmelo doesn't play defense.
  • LeBron also has a better field-goal percentage, including three-pointers.

Maybe you can make the argument that Anthony is a better finisher in the closing seconds of games. I am not convinced of that, nor am I sure how you measure it.

If you truly believe Carmelo is a better player you are entitled to that opinion. To come to that conclusion, though, you have to be a) a diehard Knicks fans seeing things through orange and blue glasses or b) someone who dislikes LeBron so much that you can't give him credit for the extraordinary talents he possesses.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - LeBron James 58 38.3 9.1 18.7 48.8 1.2 3.7 33.8 6.7 8.8 75.8 0.9 6.6 7.5 7.2 3.7 1.6 0.6 2.1 26.2

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Carmelo Anthony 54 35.7 8.8 19.6 44.7 0.9 2.6 33.6 6.9 8.3 82.7 1.6 6.0 7.6 2.7 2.8 0.9 0.6 2.8 25.3