This upcoming season will perhaps be the first season that the NBA will not have Carmelo Anthony, 10-time NBA all-star, 6-time all-NBA selected, 3-time gold medalist, and one of the most prolific scorers, participating. In his 16 NBA career seasons, Melo averaged 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. These are excellent stats for any regular player, but during the past couple of seasons he has played, his numbers dropped.
Back in 2016, Melo was a franchise player on the New York Knicks averaging 22.4 points per game. He was then traded to the Oklahoma City becoming the fourth option under Russel Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams. The next year in 2017 his numbers obviously dropped to 16.2 points per game, which still isn’t bad for the average NBA player. But once again we are not just talking about an average athlete. We are conversing about a franchise player.
As Carmelo continued into the next season, he played for the Houston Rockets and there is where I believe the NBA started blackballing him. In this stage of his career, Melo realized that he was not going to be a priority in the offensive scheme in Houston. Nonetheless the numbers he produced previously continued to plummet as he averaged only 13.4 points per game. This was caused by maintaining the status again of a fourth option this time under Chris Paul, James Harden, and Clint Capela.
When he was playing with this squad they weren’t doing too well at the start the season as the previous season. Before Melo got to the ball club, the Rockets were ranked number 1 in the Western Conference. After only 10 games with Houston, the team went 5-7 and put mainly all of the blame squarely on Melo’s shoulders. If you tuned in to any sports analysis show they were critiquing Houston by making Melo the focal point of the problems.
Now, of course, it did not help his case when Houston began to start winning after they waived Melo from the team, managing to make it back to the fourth seed in the Western Conference finishing 53-29. Since then, the league has taken little to no interest in the former all-star in giving him another chance in any ball club. In my opinion, the criticism and reasons I hear as to why they don’t want Melo are not valid.
One of the biggest reasons he gets attacked is because people want to say that Melo does not or has not yet accepted the job of a role player. People say that he is not capable of accepting a lesser role in the scheme of an offense. Yet, in a recent interview on First Take with Stephen A. Smith Melo said, “I went up to Billy Donavan himself and asked him, what do you need me to do?” Melo then begins to explain that “If you sat down with me man to man and said you know what, look what’s best for the team is for you to come off the bench. I probably would’ve fought it a little bit, but in the end, this is what’s best for the team.”
By that quote alone it is clear to see that he has matured in such a manner that he does not care about his own personal success but rather the overall success of the team. The next thing that Melo gets a lot of flak for is that he is not capable of playing with other all-stars. I could see why some would say this because most of his success came when he was the only superstar in New York. However, if this was true, he wouldn’t have three gold medals. Basketball is such a different sport in the sense that one player can change the success or downfall of the team by their performance alone.
With all of the negativity getting thrown at Melo now, I just hope that he is able to make the cut with a winning team and try to make a run for it. He has never made it to an NBA final to even compete for a chance at a championship. Regardless of the future of Melo, if he decided to retire right now, I believe that he has done enough in the league throughout his career to make it into the Hall of Fame. That is just how much of a monumental player he was and still is.