All the ingredients are present for Carmelo Anthony to have a massively successful season.
The eight-time All-Star had the unfortunate timing of the first-year of his five-year, $124 million extension with New York coinciding with the worst season in team history.
While the Knicks offense was the most anemic in the NBA last season, scoring a league-low 91.9 points per game as it won just 17 contests, the fewest in the 69-year history of the franchise, Anthony continued to deliver.
In his fourth full season with New York, Anthony — while playing through a knee injury — totaled 24.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game but doubts about his ability to perform at the level of a franchise player continue to engulf him.
The criticism hasn’t slipped past Anthony, as he spent his summer trying to stomp out any notions that he fell off, even calling out fans on Instagram.
Concerns about his production as he recovers from his season-ending knee surgery last February has sent his stock in fantasy basketball plummeting.
Through the first waves of mock drafts on Yahoo! fantasy basketball leagues, the former Syracuse star isn’t even being selected in the first round.
On average, mock drafts show Anthony being selected with the 13.6th pick, an absolute mistake.
Unlike other star players returning from injury, Anthony there is no minutes limitation being placed upon him and after going through the initial practice sessions with the team at training camp, not only does he believe that he can carry New York next season, but he believes he has four or five years remaining as an elite player.
As he enters his 13th season in the NBA, there is no logical reason for Anthony to not be among the first 12 players selected in a fantasy basketball draft.
The third overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft has averaged at least 20.8 points per game since entering the league and he fell just 36 points shy of his 13th straight year with at least 1,000 points scored.
At the very least, an opening round selection of Anthony provides a consistent scoring option, as Anthony has averaged at least 20 shots per game for each of the past three years, along with viable long range shooting and consistent rebounding numbers.
The tail end of the first round either features a player facing a daunting challenge of carrying a franchise by himself (Damian Lillard), a player with an uncertain timetable to make his season debut (Kyrie Irving) or a center that has produced just 23 double-doubles in the past two years (Al Horford).
The knee injury prevented Anthony from crashing the boards with his usual vigor, as he posted just 6.6 rebounds per game last season, but now that he is fully healthy, that figure should tilt back towards the 8.1 per game he averaged during his last full season.
The added motivation of wanting to prove himself, not only as a franchise player in New York, but among the elite players in the league.
Anthony is a combustable scorer, capable of exploding for 40 points on any night, and his 3-point shot is one of the deadliest in the league once it starts dropping.
The Knicks lineup has the potential of featuring four new starters alongside Anthony, meaning there is little reason to believe he won’t be shooting as often as he deems fit.
Any player with essentially an unlimited amount of shot attempts is worth a first round selection.
In an effort to compensate for his troublesome knee last season, Anthony established himself as more of a facilitator, dishing out five or more assists once in every six appearances.
If the trend as a passer continues, Anthony could emerge as a threat to post triple-doubles.
Even though the Knicks have depth in the front court, the ability of Anthony to play either forward position means he will once again be in line to remain on the floor at least 35 minutes a night, a figure he has failed to reach just twice in his career.
Anthony’s health concerns have been eradicated and with New York’s offense desperate for any type of production, he will have an abundant amount of opportunities to prove himself as one of the elite players in the league.
There is little reason to doubt Anthony, and no logic behind passing him up 12 times in a fantasy basketball draft.