The NBA season opener is just around the corner. Rosters are finalized for the time being. Good quality free agents have been acquired and integrated in their teams. Carmelo Anthony is not among the 450 lacing up.
Melo as he is more popularly known, has not laced up for the NBA since his 10-game stint with Houston at the start of the 2018-19 season. The first ballot hall of famer has been one of the most lethal mid-range scorers. A part of the vaunted 2003 NBA draft, his career averages of 24 points, 6.5 rebounds a game should earn him a spot on most teams.
Sadly, the game’s changed, Melo has not. Since 2014, the NBA has been an analytical driven game. The 3-point shot and overall efficiency have dominated talks, team plans and skill sets required in players.
What teams look at now are more of above average 3-point shooting, floor spacing, players running good ball-movement and vision, and crucially, perimeter defending. That skill set does not resonate with Melo. The Houston Rockets, during their trials with Carmelo noticed his defence was horrendous. The Rockets, knowing he was naturally a sub-par defender could not operate with him on the floor when defending. He was not quick enough or a potent enough threat at either the rim or the perimeter.
The question is, will any team take him?
Lot of players have voiced the need for Carmelo to return to the court. But teams just do not see a fit for him. From a team point of view, it makes sense. Their objective is to contend for the championship and have a 15-man roster that suits their needs. Melo is playing beautiful basketball. This basketball is sadly, analytically incorrect today.
For example, in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, when Carmelo played, the Thunder were outscored. When he sat on the bench, the Thunder were outscoring the Jazz. Simply put, in today’s analytical and fast paced game, an isolation player like Carmelo Anthony gets torn apart on the defence.
Carmelo Anthony , like Wade had last season, and what Vince Carter gets this season, warrants a farewell tour to end the game on his terms.
The chances of him stepping onto the court this season are slim at best. Before the teams need to finalize their playoff rosters, a team that might need a scorer for their second unit, that might be Carmelo Anthony’s only chance.
The teams will however carefully evaluate him, knowing that Carmelo Anthony presents his own pros and cons.
It’s unfortunate that Carmelo Anthony may not end his NBA career on his own terms.