by Sam Rubenstein / @samrubenstein

Carmelo Anthony is coming off one of the most bizarre up and down seasons for an athlete. I don’t want to rehash everything in drawn out detail so here’s a quick recap of the timeline: savior, selfish shooter, out of shape, loser, injured lazy millionaire, expendable (during LINSANITY), selfish superstar (for likely ruining LINSANITY once he returns), changed man, great teammate, selfish primadonna (for ending LINSANITY), coach killer, winner, complete player, unselfish superstar, elite player, not on the level of LeBron, Playoff savior, but still a selfish loser, critique of foolish NBA GMs who can’t stop themselves from throwing money away, Olympian, unstoppable bully of the Olympics, frontrunner, dignified Olympic winner, K.O.N.Y.

I think that covers his past year. So, where are we with Carmelo Anthony right now?

He’s still what he’s always been from day 1. Carmelo Anthony is:

One of the best pure scorers in the NBA. Too big, strong, and aggressive for small forwards. Too quick and sneaky and skilled for power forwards.

A ball stopper.

A streaky shooter who takes too many threes for someone with so much technique and so many moves inside.

Not a rebounder.

An unmotivated defender, but not that bad if properly motivated.

A likeable person, someone who plays with a smile, and is more mature than he used to be when he was always shooting himself in the foot.

Not a flopper or actor, which is nice.

But can be a complainer and doesn’t get back when complaining.

The only superstar athlete who hydrates with chocolate milk like it’s gatorade.

Occasionally a leader. Usually the guy who does his job by getting his numbers.

Not LeBron, Kobe, Durant, or most of the other names that will be appearing on this list soon enough.

And that’s OK.

I am a teacher at a public school in Brooklyn and after we had a visit from esteemed guest speakers @langwhitaker and @jakeappleman on Wednesday, I left it to some of my students to sing Melo’s praises for extra credit.

Quadel Yates wrote, “Carmelo Anthony is a great player. He achieved a lot in the past year, taking the Knicks to a new level of hype. Ever since he joined the Knicks, their fan base has grown larger. He is a great shooter, setting a new record for the most three pointers in one game during the Olympics. Carmelo deserves his spot on the Top 50 players of the year” no matter what spot it is because Mr. Rubenstein would never accidentally show us the rankings before they were made available to the public.

Alejandro Duran stated, “Carmelo Anthony should be considered for the top 10 because of his amazing career so far. I am a Knicks fan because of Melo and he truly is the player who sets the tone and heats up the whole team.”

Noted young NBA historian Chris Prudhomme conducted research and concluded, “Carmelo Anthony is the definition of clutch. He has hit 14 game-winners in his career. In the past 10 years he has led the NBA in game-winning shot percentage. He is arguably the most offensively skilled player in the NBA. He is unstoppable when he catches the vibe of the game. Although he doesn’t have a ring YET it will come soon and if it does not, some of the NBA’s greats retired without rings, like Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, and John Stockton.”

I also want to take this opportunity to remind my students that what I just did was called a CITING A DIRECT QUOTATION. DO THAT!

As for Melo, he is a true superstar, and now he gets to play with some of the oldest and most likely to get injured people in the NBA. This year cannot possibly top last year’s rollercoaster of drama for him.

Or… can… it…

Where should Carmelo Anthony rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
RankPlayerTeamPositionPos. Rank
50Greg MonroePistonsC8
49Tyreke EvansKingsPG14
48Brandon JenningsBucksPG13
47Stephen CurryWarriorsPG12
46Ricky RubioTWolvesPG11
45Al JeffersonJazzPF14
44Anthony DavisHornetsPF13
43Serge IbakaThunderPF12
42Al HorfordHawksC7
41Ty LawsonNuggetsPG10
40Danny GrangerPacersSF6
39Tim DuncanSpursPF11
38John WallWizardsPG9
37Monta EllisBucksSG8
36Zach RandolphGrizzliesPF10
35Roy HibbertPacersC6
34Tyson ChandlerKnicksC5
33Eric GordonHornetsSG7
32Kevin GarnettCelticsPF9
31Manu GinobiliSpursSG6
30Amar’e StoudemireKnicksPF8
29Marc GasolGrizzliesC4
28DeMarcus CousinsKingsC3
27Paul PierceCelticsSF5
26Andre IguodalaNuggetsSG5
25Rudy GayGrizzliesSF4
24Josh SmithHawksPF7
23Derrick RoseBullsPG8
22Joe JohnsonNetsSG4
21Steve NashLakersPG7
20James HardenThunderSG3
19Pau GasolLakersPF6
18Chris BoshHeatPF5
17Kyrie IrvingCavsPG6
16LaMarcus AldridgeBlazersPF4
15Tony ParkerSpursPG5
14Dirk NowitzkiMavsPF3
13Andrew BynumSixersC2
12Blake GriffinClippersPF2
11Kevin LoveTWolvesPF1
10Carmelo AnthonyKnicksSF3

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.