Additional Commentary on Carmelo Anthony | Magic Basketball

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Aug 19

Additional Commentary on Carmelo Anthony

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

After seeing what transpired in Miami this summer, of course anything can happen in the NBA. But acquiring superstars isn’t easy and to get one you usually must pay a heavy price.

For example, for the [Orlando] Magic to pull off a blockbuster and acquire Anthony it would also mean they likely would have to assume other undesirable contracts. Losing Melo would mean Denver would be starting over, so the Nuggets might also be looking to unload Chauncey Billups ($27.3 million still owed), Nene ($22.9 million still owed) or Kenyon Martin ($16.5 million still owed).

The Magic could trade Vince Carter ($17.3 million) straight up for Anthony ($17.1 million), but it assuredly wouldn’t be that easy. While Orlando holds the team option on the final year of Carter’s contract, few know that there is a $4 million penalty that Carter will get if a team buys him out. Orlando would likely have to throw $3 million (the most allowed by NBA rules) into any trade to make the transaction work.

And for all of his flash, Anthony does have his flaws. He’s an incredible scorer, but he would be taking more shots away from Dwight Howard. And defense and rebounding are but rumors with Anthony. If the Magic could land him without sacrificing too much it would be a no-brainer. But trades of this magnitude are rarely that easy.

It bears repeating that the odds of the Orlando Magic acquiring Carmelo Anthony are slim to none. Even though Anthony, indeed, has leverage in terms of where he wants to go, the Denver Nuggets are still the team that has the pull the trigger. And with the dismissal of Mark Warkentien, vice president of basketball operations, who knows how long it’ll take for the Nuggets to find a suitable replacement. Time will tell.

Oh, but there’s more.

adj. +/- net +/- stat. +/- PER WARP Win Shares/48
Carmelo Anthony +0.45 +3.5 +4.10 22.2 9.5 .145
Kobe Bryant +9.15 +12.3 +5.24 21.9 11.1 .160
Chris Bosh +6.97 +6.0 +3.84 25.0 14.0 .182
Tim Duncan +6.45 +4.7 +6.07 24.7 15.5 .215
Kevin Durant +17.75 +17.2 +7.40 26.2 17.6 .238
Pau Gasol -0.59 +3.6 +4.39 22.9 12.9 .220
Manu Ginobili +4.50 +6.4 +8.35 22.5 11.8 .216
Dwight Howard +24.97 +10.2 +7.21 24.0 19.2 .223
LeBron James +18.52 +15.8 +14.13 31.1 25.3 .299
Steve Nash +14.20 +4.4 +1.46 21.6 13.4 .178
Dirk Nowitzki +7.24 +10.6 +4.20 22.9 11.7 .194
Rajon Rondo -2.73 +2.5 +4.37 19.1 14.8 .156
Josh Smith +4.88 +7.7 +5.91 21.0 15.3 .155
Dwyane Wade +16.09 +14.1 +10.77 28.0 20.0 .224
Gerald Wallace +0.45 +1.6 +4.29 18.3 11.8 .177
Deron Williams +13.06 +7.8 +4.10 20.6 13.2 .177

The list of players are inspired by Kevin Pelton’s award ballot at Basketball Prospectus.

However, if there’s something that can be addressed, it’s the perception and reality of Anthony’s skill level. Is Anthony a top five player? No. Is Anthony an efficient player on offense? No. Anthony’s True Shooting Percentage and effective field goal percentage were at or below the league average last season. Granted, Anthony’s Offensive Rating was 110, which was above the league average. Also, if there’s a bright side to Anthony’s obscenely high usage rate (33.4 percent in 2010), it’s that he does an excellent job of taking care of the basketball. That being said, Anthony doesn’t compare favorably to his peers offensively. Yes, Anthony can score and if there’s one thing the Magic desperately need, it’s a dominant perimeter scorer, but he does so with nary an ounce of efficiency.

Another issue is fit.

TS% eFG% AST% TOV% USG% ORtg
Carmelo Anthony .548 .478 18.1 10.6 33.4 110
LeBron James .604 .545 41.8 12.3 33.5 121

Anthony’s career usage rate is 31.1 percent, which is high. To put that number in perspective, LeBron James’ career usage rate is 31.9 percent. James is one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA. Anthony is not. If Anthony were to join Orlando, he would have no choice but to cut down on his possessions. Dwight Howard has to be the focal point of the offense if the Magic want to win a championship. If Anthony is willing to accept a lesser role compared to his standards, then perhaps the arrangement could work in theory. But these are all valid concerns.

As for Anthony’s rebounding prowess and defensive acumen, those aren’t major issues. At least, they shouldn’t be. Anthony’s defense isn’t great — it never will be — but he’s improved on that end of the floor in recent years (the numbers suggest he regressed defensively last season, though) and would benefit from playing alongside Howard. Still, even though Anthony has gotten better on defense, there are still questions about his desire, commitment, and appreciation with an aspect of basketball that doesn’t have anything to do with scoring. That’s something that head coach Stan Van Gundy would have to address, or else Anthony’s scoring prowess might be nullified by his lack of impact defensively. Even then, in the grand scheme of things, Orlando’s issues aren’t on defense.

What’s held the Magic back against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics in the last two years has been the inability to score with consistency.

Anthony could fix that issue, at least.

All this rhetoric is probably all for naught, but it’s worth pointing out.

*all the numbers that are shown were for the 2009-2010 regular season

23 comments
Eric
Eric

Sorry for the book, and I hope you guys don't diss me too much, just my thoughts so take it easy. One more thing I wanted to add is that Rashard is being underutilized, he shouldn't need 3 pointers to be in the game. Put him on hte post and let him do his fade away baseline jumper. That will give him looks, even if they don't go in, he just needs plays called for him periodically, as do most players. That is on Stan to get him involved when the defensers stay at hom on the 3 point line, although my previous post talks about why we need a scorer to break down the defense more to help with that.

Eric
Eric

Well ty Eddie, although your opinion shines through between the words, you did point out the positives and negatives, can't ask for more than that. I seem to think a volume guy like Melo would be a good fit, but I could well be wrong. Everyone says that it will disrupt everyone's game like Vince did. I don't agree. I think we need a younger guy that can use up more offensive possessions, to save the other guys for what they do best. Dwight is the defense, the offense should go through him, but that is not to say that it should end with him. Against teams that have a decent center, this whole offensive scheme backfires and Dwight actually becomes a liability when we try to force the offense to go through him. Once the other team can defend Dwight in single coverage, all the offense was forced to go through Nelson and Carter. Carter was good in the playoffs, until it counted, but I think we saw that there is a good chance he doesn't have the ability to break down the defense consistently and create good shots for himself and others. That left that chore to Nelson, and we were only as good as Nelson was against Boston. When he penetrated and forced the defense to collapse, we were good, when he couldn't / wouldn't as he tired, we were stagnant. This is where I think the problem lies, Carter just couldn't force the other team to respect him. He would take a low percentage shot, because his man could cover him one on one, so it didn't open up the floor. So it was Dwight one on one, Carter one on one, we didn't play Magic basketball unless Nelson made it happen. Magic basketball being cause the defense to collapse, move the ball, shoot the open shot. Now don't yell at me, I am just speculating as to what I saw, but I think a Melo, or Monta Ellis would benefit this team, even if they are inefficient, if they can collapse the defense and score points, and allow Nelson to dominate in the fourth, and thus opening up Howard to score easy buckets of of off. rebounds and breakdowns. Like it or not, Hedo was inefficient as HELL, but that is what he brought to the Magic that Carter could not, at least in my opinion, and we need another to fill that role.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Alex

Doubt it'll matter much, but you never know.

Alex
Alex

I wonder how, if at all, Melo and Dwight shooting a movie together effects the Melo to Orlando possibility.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@PK

There's defenders in the East that can slow down Anthony.

@Mikeyho

I think you're misinterpreting my point. It's not so much that Howard needs to score for the Magic to win a championship, that's that he needs to be the centerpiece of the offense so that everything funnels through him. If Anthony were to play for Orlando, I would be a little concerned that the attention offensively would go away from Howard. It's a valid concern, considering how many possessions Anthony uses up. For example, the Magic had the same problems when Vince Carter first arrived with the team and it took a few months for the proper balance to be achieved on offense.

@3.3seconds

I disagree. The Magic do need another big scorer, it just needs to be somebody that doesn't use up a ton of possessions and is able to operate efficiently on offense. Anthony can score, without a doubt, but he would need to improve on those two latter points.

3.3seconds
3.3seconds

And the last thing the Magic need is another big scorer. You saw what happened when the team traded for Carter. It sucked the life right out of Lewis and Nelson. (Then Carter settled down a little, and it wasn't so bad.)

You don't need to orchestrate shooting volume... you have the possessions. Someone will use them.

3.3seconds
3.3seconds

@Shaun : Even if you like Melo, you have to concede he isn't even one of the 2 best offensive small forwards playing today. Granted, he's got some tough competition at the moment... but still.

(I'd put Paul Pierce ahead of him too.)

NC Magic Fan
NC Magic Fan

@NC Magic Fan
Damn, wrong button:
0-10 42%
11-15 24%
16-20 22%
21-23 12%

or as state for Anthony:
0-10 42%
0-15 66%
0-20 88%

Melo is sorta average compared to the league.

eltharion_doa
eltharion_doa

@ NC Magic Fan - that data is meaningless without knowing the overall proportion of shots taken across the league during different parts of the shot clock.

If the league average for shots taken in the last 4 seconds is, say, 5.6%, then Anthony would take over twice as many shots at the end of the clock as the typical player - indicating he's less of a chucker and more likely to be the one taking the crap shot at the end of the clock after the offense has broken down. I'd also like to see the Nuggets overall data of who was the player taking the shots at the end of the clock - if Anthony is taking, say, 80% of the team's crappy last second shots, it stands to reason his efficiency will be lower than, say, Billups.

You need the supporting data for your example to be relevant. I'm not saying you're wrong, but you're not providing sufficient data to prove your hypothesis.

Mikeyho
Mikeyho

Funny that almost everyone disagrees with this article (and it's because of your negative tone Eddy, not because you don't think he would help). For me, like the first guy said, Anthony is not coming here in all probability. But we need players just like him to help our overall size and skill.

Dwight is so important to our offense because of how we choose to play the game. This style has almost been enough in the past, and our small tweaks this year might be enough.. or not. I'm on board this year to find out. I'll stay optimistic.

I just seems we get beaten by big talented teams that can claw their way to victory by force. Carmelo can force his way to the free throw line and make them. We haven't had that and even if Carmelo didn't shoot threes well last year, he would be the thing we need.

Mikeyho
Mikeyho

Of course Melo would be good for the team. He's a big, free throw shooting machine. We need real size. In fact, he's, in my opinion, exactly what Orlando needs. If Dwight's offense is the way to win a championship, we're not winning one. Stats are getting blown out of proportion. It's starting to bother me. I think we've lost our way a bit.

PK
PK

You should all see Cavs-Nuggets game from Feb 18th - that's exactly why Magic need Melo. There's simply nobody in Eastern conference who can stop him (maybe Iggy, but not in a 7 game series) and Magic should focus on getting to the Finals and only then it's time to worry about Ron Artest....

shaqi
shaqi

A good offense is a great defense. Against the Cavs in 2010 playoffs, the Celtics offense looked good because of the many turnovers by the Cavs.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Shaun

It's only rubbish because you don't want to accept the truth. At least, that's the impression I'm getting from your comment. Facts are facts, and @NC Magic Fan is providing more examples of the reality surrounding Anthony.

I never said Anthony wasn't an All-Star caliber player, but clearly his value is inflated because of his ability to score a lot -- albeit inefficiently.

@Rick

I don't know what defines a "true leader" ...

Rick
Rick

Melo a great clutch shooter but I still believe his lack of defense (unless he decides he wants to play D) will always hurt him. He's not a true leader and with all the talent he had around him in Denver (Billups, K-Mart, Nene, Smith) he never showed me he wants to be a leader.

When its all said and done he'll always finish 3rd behind Wade and Bron-Bron.

NC Magic Fan
NC Magic Fan

@ Shaun Check your facts. Carmelo takes 37% of his shot in the first 10 seconds, 62% in the first 15 and 87% in the first 20 seconds of the shot clock. That leaves less than 13% with the clock winding down. He is a chucker, plain and simple.

Shaun
Shaun

Rubbish article. Hey Eddy - ever consider that Carmelo takes a lot of his shots under immense pressure, and with the shot clock winding down on broken down possessions?

He's the best offensive small forward since Bernard King.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Herm

Anthony is not a better shooter than James, no.

As @The Dark pointed out, the only area on the floor that Anthony was superior to James was from 10-15 feet, that's it. I never said that the Magic didn't need Anthony's scoring prowess because they do, but it would be a mistake to move the offense's focus away from Dwight Howard. People that don't watch Orlando play on a daily basis don't understand how much Howard's involvement on offense is vital to the team's success.

@Yusuf

Anthony's clutch stats in 2010 don't compare favorably to his peers, either.

@Sondhi

No, Anthony's True Shooting Percentage suffers because he shoots threes poorly. I mentioned before that Anthony's poor three-point percentage last season could have been a fluke, given that he shot 37.1 percent in 2009. But even taking into account Anthony's good percentage, his TS% was still below-average at 53.2 percent. Anthony isn't an efficient scorer, period. There's years of data that support this claim. Either Anthony needs to cut out threes (which isn't a good idea), or he needs to improve his percentage. You're argument about three-point shooting doesn't carry much weight because in contrast, James shot 33.3 percent yet his efficiency was off the charts and among the league leaders.

Anthony's efficiency isn't amazing, because he isn't efficient. By the way, TS% takes into account free-throws so I have no clue what you're trying to argue.

Sondhi
Sondhi

@The Dark
Its awfully convenient to leave out FT's, considering Melo is Top 5 in attempts. For this talk of inefficiency, HoopStats has Melo at #14, one ahead of Kobe, one behind Duncan. Dwight is #7, Vince Carter is #95.

The reason Melo suffers in TS% is that he does not shoot 3's. Sure shooting 3's in nice, you guys lead the league, so you know that, but does every player on the floor need to shoot it? You're not going to tell me that the double teams he commands, won't help the team to even more open shots. For not being a Center or a 3pt shooter his efficiency is actually pretty amazing. As Kobe has shown, a guy who is a required double team, the focus of the opponent's defense, and who still manages to be pretty efficient, all from the mid-range, can be a pretty valuable component.

Yusuf
Yusuf

Check Melo's clutch stats.

The Dark
The Dark

@ Herm: Last year, the only range from which Anthony was more efficient than James was 10-15 feet. At the rim, <10 feet, 16-23 feet, or from 3, James was more efficient than Anthony.

Melo's scoring is based almost entirely on volume of shots, rather than points per shot. To illustrate (ignoring free throws to keep it simple, if less precise), he scored 1,943 points on 1,502 shots, or 1.29 points per shot. Matt Barnes scored 716 points on 557 shots, or 1.29 points per shot. I don't think anyone would consider Barnes an elite scorer, yet he scored the same number of points each time he jacked up a shot as Carmelo Anthony.

Herm
Herm

Totally disagree here. Anthony is clearly among the most gifted scorers the league has seen in some time. His game is not as dynamic as Lebron's, but just focusing on efficiency ignores that much of that differnece is based on assists, which wouldn't be required of him in Orlando, and also shot mix (in other words, I would argue Carmelo is a better shooter than Lebron, but his % is lower becuase he doesn't shoot as many shots int he paint - again, not a prob if your shot mix doensn't include shots in the lane because those touches are mostly allocated to an elite big man). What's more, while Melo isn't much of a passer, he has a post up game and an superior mid-range game. He's one of the few players in this league that can dominate consistently on offense, and what's more he seemed like the most natural scorer when he played on team USA. In any event, his scoring prowess is precisely why Orlando needs him. Dwight Howard cannot be relied on for offensive production. He simply isn't skilled enough around the basket and his free throw shooting hampers things further. Having an elite scorer like 'Melo is an ideal fit, and if Dwight could mask Hedo's atrocious defense, Carmelo will be just fine with the big fella back there to clean things up.

eltharion_doa
eltharion_doa

This kinda bores me. Speculation, rumour, innuendo...there's no substance to most of this stuff. I know the off season is called the silly season for a reason, but I find it tiresome.

Pre-season can't come soon enough.