Unpopular Opinion: Carmelo Anthony Is A Top 5 Player In The NBA
Others may not think so, but hear me out, the bastion of buckets has been overlooked for years and now’s the time to take notice.
I’m going to address some common, unsolicited Melo slander that has prompted many people to under-value his skills.
“Carmelo is an above-average shooter, nothing else.”
In that same sense, then everyone should say the same about Kevin Durant…
These are literally the two best shot-creators and scorers the league has to offer, outside of Lebron. They get paid to score, and are brought to teams to score, same as point guards are brought to teams to distribute. Not everyone is meant to do it all: rebound, score, pass, defend, ect. People exaggerate as if Melo doesn’t have more to his game, and it’s wrong. Aside from his average defense, he is a small forward, and forwards aren’t too concerned with getting assist numbers, which is what leads people to call him just a scorer. In these past two seasons, Melo has tried to improve the quality of his passing, which is actually very under-rated. If he has a better chance than most of making a shot, he shoots over letting someone else take the shot. It’s the same thing with Durant, however in that case it’s suddenly okay. I guess we’re going to pretend like Melo doesn’t grab around 8 rebounds a game, and average around 4 assists a game?
“Carmelo is a ball-stopper.”
Anyone that sets themselves up in an isolation situation becomes a “ball-stopper”. In that sense, players of the high caliber that take it upon themselves to score, as they are supposed to, like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and all sorts of other all-stars are ball-stoppers. Therefore, I don’t understand one saying that about Carmelo.
Everyone can be a ball-stopper. Melo knows when to shoot, and when not to. He’s not a selfish player. His scoring capabilities are great, and he only goes up with a shot if he knows he can make it.
“Carmelo can’t play defense”
Okay, he’s not the athletic shot-blocker, and he doesn’t lock down all of his opponents, but he does give effort to play pretty good defense. I’m really not sure where in the world people first got the idea that he only scores. Melo is an average defender at best, BUT he plays 10 times as much defense as James Harden does, and James gets praise all day long.
“Carmelo could have gone to a contender, but he stayed for the money.”
Melo made it clear in 2011 that the team he wanted to be on was the Knicks. His wife and son are accustomed to living there, and he didn’t want to move cities on them. He was comfortable where he was at, and thought that the Knicks could still make the playoffs, but that’s when the team hired Phil Jackson…
Melo is frustrated every year he misses out on the playoffs. I don’t think he’s in it for just money, he was trying to be loyal to the team he wanted to stay with, but they decided he wasn’t worth their time anymore. They didn’t utilize him the way previous coaches could, like Mike Woodson. Melo got the NBA scoring title the year Woodson coached the Knicks. Melo’s numbers are down because of the triangle system of basketball that they’ve been trying to bring to New York. His higher-ups failed him, and that’s just the business of the NBA. He needed to get out of New York a while ago, but I guess you’re not allowed to stay and play for the city you love without being criticized as just wanting money.
“What about Carmelo’s usage rate?”
The only thing I have to say about usage rate statistics and a players +/- stats is that they aren’t 100 percent reliable in showing a player’s impact on the game at all. If anything, Melo’s usage rate has gone down due to a decrease in minutes, and a decrease in his role in the whole offense that Phil Jackson had in mind.
I don’t think his skills have gotten worse, but the cards he’s been dealt are giving him a hard time compared to the rest of the NBA’s superstars.
Melo brings more to the table than scoring, period.
Because he is a big small forward that handles the ball like a point guard, he can score anywhere on court, play defense when he needs to, crash the boards, and even play the power forward position to take advantage of slower defenders. He’s got so much more to his game than people realize. He can also take the ball to the hoop strongly. He’s literally a weapon for any team that decides to utilize him. I’ve never once watched him play and thought he needed the ball out of his hands.