Is Melo a Top 15 player?
Recently, Slam Magazine had a ranking of the top 50 players in the NBA right now. I had an “iffy” reaction when I heard they ranked Carmelo Anthony at number 15.
Anthony is well known as an elite player in this game and one of the best scorers in the modern day era. Yes, Anthony lacks a championship and has made only one Western Conference Finals, and has never advanced to NBA Finals.
However, he is a prolific scorer and three-time Olympic champion. If you go back to the 2016 Olympics this past summer, Anthony lead a team that had some of the best players in the world. Anthony’s talent is certainly top 10 material but, his lack of team success followed with a bad playoff resume can make you say otherwise.
Anthony is a 24.9 average points per game scorer, a six-time All-NBA selection, and a nine-time NBA All-Star. His versatility of being 6’8 gives him the ability to play anywhere on the court. The scary thing for opposing teams is that he can also score the ball from just about everywhere on the court. Inside or outside, midrange or even three point range, it doesn’t matter. Anthony is the total offensive package.
The ability for Anthony to score is always there and that gives him the ability to win any game on his own. He is so great offensively, it gives him the ability to pick and choose any shot he wants on the floor. He isn’t a bad rebounder either with 7.7 rebounds per game last season.
He is more of an all-around player now, and because of that, he makes his teammates around him better. People ask why is his scoring average going down? That’s simply because he changed his game. He looks to share the ball with his teammates instead of taking low percentage shots. He is willing enough to change his shot selection to help a guy like Kristaps Porziņģis, who is the Knicks future and can become a superstar in this league someday if he reaches his full potential.
Anthony gives more effort on defense. Yes, that’s right, I said defense. He has been mocked for his lazy defense for basically his whole career, and some would probably laugh at that, but it’s true. Anthony would run at dangerous shooters on the perimeter, causing them to shoot 28% from long distance. That is something he rarely did last season or much of his career, to be honest. Now he still isn’t an upper echelon type of defender, but, he has been much better on that side of the floor.
Something that hunts Anthony is his team’s playoff record. Anthony has the worst winning percentage for any player in NBA history with at least 50 playoff games on his résumés. Two seasons ago, Anthony missed the playoffs for the first time in his career. He was in the same draft class as his best friends, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
James is a three-time champion that has been to the finals six straight times. Wade has also been to the finals five times with three Championships on his résumés. After thirteen seasons, Anthony has one Western Conference Finals appearance and zero Finals appearances. Don’t forget all the times the Anthony has been bounced out of the first round, and to make matters worse, his team hasn’t made the playoffs for last three seasons.
Chris Paul, who is also close to Anthony, does not have a title either. However, he led the Clippers to the Western Conference Semifinals in three of his first four seasons.
Anthony hasn’t made an All-NBA roster since 2013, when he was voted to the league’s Second Team. After finishing third in the MVP voting four years ago, he finished 15th during the 2013-14 season and has not received a vote since. Anthony is an elite scorer, no question. In fact, it’s the best thing about his skill set. Yet, when you look at his low shooting percentages and think about other aspects of the game like defense, age, and his overall skill set, you can make an agreement that he isn’t even a top 15 player.
What do you think? Is Carmelo Anthony a top 15 player in the league?
Featured image courtesy of Keith Allison (Flickr)