2013 will finally be Carmelo Anthony's historic MVP season.
Through his first nine seasons in the NBA, Anthony was known as nothing more than a scorer with limited defensive prowess. By limited, of course, we mean to say that the league's perception was that 'Melo could do nothing defensively.
The 2012-13 season has changed everything.
Anthony is posting his usually dominant offensive numbers with 29.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. More importantly, he's finally learned to have a positive impact on team defense.
The New York Knicks are averaging 96.1 points per 48 minutes with 'Melo on the floor. That number jumps to 98.3 when he is not.
As for the offensive end of the floor, Carmelo is equally as influential.
When Anthony is on the floor, the Knicks are averaging 104.9 points per 48 minutes. When he's on the bench, they're scoring just 97.0 points per 48.
That's a point differential of positive-8.8 with Anthony and negative-1.3.
If we're talking MVP, Anthony is as valuable as they come. Fortunately, there is more to it than just the advanced statistics.
Carmelo Anthony is creating the perfect storm to become MVP.
Leading an Elite Team
For the first time in Carmelo Anthony's near 10-year career, he is playing for an elite NBA team. Perhaps the only season prior in which that label could be utilized was with the 2008-09 Denver Nuggets.
The '09 Nuggets won 54 games. The 2013 Knicks are on pace to win 55 games.
Just don't even attempt to compare the two teams.
The 2009 Nuggets averaged 104.3 points scored and 100.9 points allowed per game. The 2013 Knicks are putting up 102.3 points for and 97.2 points against.
More importantly, the Knicks are just a half-game behind the Miami Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Should the Knicks remain one of the top two teams in the East, Anthony will be a top contender for Most Valuable Player. Fortunately for 'Melo, there is something separating him from the other candidates.
New York City.
Major Market Value
When a player is the headlining athlete for a New York City franchise, they're destined to make headlines.
In the case of Carmelo Anthony, it is not about the headlines he will make. Instead, it is the praise he will receive for carrying a major market franchise to the forefront of the NBA.
More importantly, he's leading the New York Knicks.
When you call the Mecca of Basketball home, your popularity is destined to rise. When you're leading those very Knicks to championship contention, you elevate your status to an even greater level.
Carmelo will do what Patrick Ewing never could: win the MVP award.
A recent string of controversy will do nothing but help his case.
Becoming the Fan Favorite
When a player becomes embroiled in a controversy surrounding a near-fight, their popularity often decreases. When said player is reacting to foul words about his wife, however, he becomes a personable player.
Such is the case for Carmelo Anthony.
This led to 'Melo waiting for KG outside of the Celtics team bus and nearly entering a physical confrontation.
Since then, Anthony has been suspended by the NBA (via ESPN New York). Even still, 'Melo has been viewed as the victim that fought back and defended his family's honor.
It may be unconventional, but this suspension is the best thing to ever happen to Anthony's MVP candidacy.