Carmelo Anthony has gone from a superstar in the NBA to a player that teams can not find a spot for. After being traded from the New York Knicks last season to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony has failed to find his niche on any team.
At 34-years-old Carmelo Anthony believes he still has what it takes to play in the NBA, and he absolutely does. Melo has to be willing to adapt his game. Anthony has had one of the most ungraceful declines in NBA history. He was expected to be the last piece to Oklahoma City’s attempt at a big three. This was a mistake from the start. OKC traded Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott to the Knicks for Anthony. This decimated their bench and put them in a position to fail. At 33, Melo was not the same player he was to start his career in New York and it showed.
During the 2012-13 season Anthony’s was the scoring champion and led the Knicks to the playoffs. After this scoring numbers dropped and injuries started taking their toll on him. He has always been more of an iso player who thrived on his one-on-one match ups. Unfortunately, as he aged and slowed down, he resorted to more pull up jumpers instead of taking guys off the dribble. This has resulted in a declining field goal percentage and his increase in three pointers attempted. Before the 2012-13 season, he attempted an average of 2.7 three pointers a game. Since that season he is averaging 5.5 threes attempted a game.
Anthony’s game has had to change with his age, but he seems to have changed in a way that is hard for teams to incorporate him. Selfless play has become more of a staple for successful teams and he has never been known for his passing. He averages 3 assists a game for his career and in his stints with the Rockets and Thunder he has averaged 1.3 and .5 a game. He has not been able to change his style, and even though he averaged 19 points a game for OKC it was hard for him to co-exist with Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
The problem with those three guys in OKC is all three are ball dominant. With Westbrook and George still in their prime they are the go to players, and Anthony failed to become the spot up shooter that OKC needed. George and Westbrook are also both great defensive players and the lack of even serviceable defensive play from Anthony hurt the team when he was on the court. The experiment failed, but Anthony still has the skill to play and many thought Houston would be the solution.
Once OKC traded him, the Houston Rockets picked him up on a minimum contract. The Rockets wanted him to be a spot up shooter and possibly come off the bench. Coming off the bench was an issue for him on the Thunder, and for some reason the Rockets thought this would change. Anthony played ten games for the Rockets and came off the bench for eight of them. Melo could score, but he could not replace what the Rockets lost in the offseason. With Trevor Ariza gone Anthony came in as his replacement. He was a liability on the court and if he was cold he had no other reason to be playing. He has been out of the lineup since November 8th where he played 20 minutes and went 1-11 with only two points in the teams loss.
Now the Rockets are finalizing a deal to send him to the Chicago Bulls along with some cash. The Bulls are expected to either trade or release him before the deadline on February 7th.
Now for the big question. Is Carmelo Anthony done in the NBA?
In reality he probably is not, but he has to be willing to change for his career to keep going. Anthony poses as a liability on defense and on offense he has yet to become the spot up shooter needed in today’s league. Both of these traits against him make it hard for him to be in the NBA. If Lebron James has any influence on the Lakers, it is possible he ends up there, but Melo on the Lakers is a terrible idea. Personally, I think he needs to retire.
Being a 10-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA, scoring champion and three time olympic gold medalist, are more than enough for him to be in the Hall of Fame. The one downside to Melo’s resume is his lack of an NBA championship. If he wants to win one he has to improve on defense and become a team player for just one year.
Carmelo Anthony has had a heck of a career, but I think he has overstayed his welcome in today’s NBA.