Carmelo Anthony calls himself ‘NBA’s most underrated superstar’

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How many superstars are in the NBA?

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are by any definition.

If you go strictly by on-court factors, Chris Paul and Kevin Love are on the edge. I’d rate Paul a superstar, and Love is on the outside looking in. Anthony Davis could join the superstar ranks soon, but I want to see more of him first. Dwight Howard could get back to that level.

If you go by fame and national prominence, Paul and Howard are in. So are Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. That’s an easier bar to clear.

That’s my assessment, at least. Determining superstars is so difficult because the term is so difficult to define.

But it’s much easier to take issue with.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

First of all, Melo is an underrated superstar to the people that matter. They gave him more than $124 million.

To everyone else? Eh, maybe.

If Melo is underrated, it’s only because he’s reached “he’s so underrated, he’s overrated” status.

Melo has really played his butt off the last two seasons. He’s become more efficient, working harder to get good shots. The Knicks didn’t do enough around him last season, but he sure played hard enough to drag New York into the postseason. His teammates and coach just didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

He’s still weak defensively, and that makes it difficult to build a team around him – especially at his salary. But it’s gotten easier to find offensive complements as he’s taken fewer bad shots.

Melo is better than ever, and I don’t think that’s widely acknowledged, making him underrated now.

But an underrated superstar? That last word is a harder sell.