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
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13
43 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 12
42 Al Horford Hawks C 7
41 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 10
40 Danny Granger Pacers SF 6
39 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 11
38 John Wall Wizards PG 9
37 Monta Ellis Bucks SG 8
36 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 10
35 Roy Hibbert Pacers C 6
34 Tyson Chandler Knicks C 5
33 Eric Gordon Hornets SG 7
32 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 9
31 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 6
30 Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 8
29 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 4
28 DeMarcus Cousins Kings C 3
27 Paul Pierce Celtics SF 5
26 Andre Iguodala Nuggets SG 5
25 Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 4
24 Josh Smith Hawks PF 7
23 Derrick Rose Bulls PG 8
22 Joe Johnson Nets SG 4
21 Steve Nash Lakers PG 7
20 James Harden Thunder SG 3
19 Pau Gasol Lakers PF 6
18 Chris Bosh Heat PF 5
17 Kyrie Irving Cavs PG 6
16 LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 4
15 Tony Parker Spurs PG 5
14 Dirk Nowitzki Mavs PF 3
13 Andrew Bynum Sixers C 2
12 Blake Griffin Clippers PF 2
11 Kevin Love TWolves PF 1
10 Carmelo Anthony Knicks SF 3

Notes
• 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.