It can hard to realize when you’ve lost a step, especially when you were once considered to be the best at what you do. Ten years ago, heck, five years ago, Carmelo Anthony was considered by many to be a top five player in the NBA. Now, he has trouble trying to find a suitor in free agency. Many believe that his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, will be better this year without him. Puzzling as it may seem, they’re probably right.
Carmelo Anthony was drafted back in 2003, when the game of basketball was quite different. The game very much still an inside-out style of play. Big men dominated the league such as Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, the list goes on. Mid-range isolation play was also extremely prevalent, and guards and small forwards such as Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and Allen Iverson thrived. This is the NBA world that Melo entered, and quickly thrived in.
Don’t get me wrong, 2018 Carmelo Anthony isn’t a bad player. He’s simply a relic from another time. Let me explain…
More than any other play in the past 10 years, Stephen Curry has revolutionized the sport of basketball. The poster child for ball movement and three-point shooting, every champion in the past five years has been a proficient shooting team. The players that are thriving the most right now in the league are shooters, particularly athletic wings who can guard multiple positions and spread the floor (Paul George, Kevin Durant, Gordon Hayward, Kawhi Leonard, etc.) Even the center position, which is historically the worst shooter on the floor, has to be able to step outside and knock down a jumper if they want to be successful. Curry and the Golden State Warriors have been an example to the rest of the NBA that the more the ball moves around on offense, the quicker the ball in in the half court, and the more space the offensive team spreads out, the more successful the team will be.
Carmelo Anthony is a slow-moving, ball-stopping, big ego forward who has never been good at defense and is getting worse by the year. He is a highly inefficient player by all advanced metrics, and although many would argue he belongs in the Hall-of-Fame, he spent much of the first round series against Utah riding the pines.
In July he opted out of his deal with the Thunder, then a week later opted back in and is traded to the Atlanta Hawks. He is expected to be waived by the Hawks, and the sign with the Houston Rockets. Reigning MVP James Harden has publicly come out recruiting Anthony to the team, and is calling that with him they’ll be unstoppable. While unstoppable seems to be a stretch, there is a way this would work. This is the message I would say to Carmelo
Mellow out, man. Take a look in mirror, and realize you’re not elite. At best, you’re a borderline starter on some teams. Stop trying to be the MVP. Be the sixth man of the year. Lead the second unit on the offensive end. Get your 15 points in 28 mins and get out. As a starter, you would be competing with two ball dominate guards in Chris Paul and James Harden for points and touches. Come off the bench, torch second unit scrubs, and turn some heads in the process. It’s time to “mellow out” before is “Melo out for good” It’s time to take a step back and let the kids play their game. If you do that, there will be a time and place play yours.
– Danny Lovell – NBA Contributor for WTF Sports