On Wednesday night, with their season on the line, the Oklahoma City Thunder were down 25 points with eight and a half minutes left in the third quarter. Boos were shouted from all around the arena, as the Utah Jazz looked like they were going to shock the Thunder on the road.
All of a sudden, Paul George and Russell Westbrook caught fire. Westbrook, who was abysmal in the first half, went 12-for-23, scoring 33 of his 45 points in the latter half of the game. He also added seven assists and 15 rebounds. George finished the game with 34 points and eight rebounds. Oklahoma City outscored Utah 66-43 in the second half, and ultimately won the game 107-99.
But where was Carmelo Anthony? He finished the game with just seven points on 2-for-6 shooting in only 25 minutes of play. Throughout the series, Anthony has been awful when he steps foot on the court. In five games, the 10-time All-Star is averaging 12.8 points on 36.9 percent shooting from the field and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc. The 33-year-old has just two assists in his 168 minutes of action, which both came in Game 1.
That is right, he has yet to record an assist in over 130 minutes. On Wednesday, OKC finally realized that they are a better team with Alex Abrines on the court instead of Melo.
Per 100 possessions, Melo’s plus-minus on the court is -12.6. In the regular season, he set career lows in points, assists, minutes, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and steals. Translation: While it has been a fun ride, the United States Olympic men’s national basketball team’s all-time leading scorer is a shell of what he used to be. However, this is a future Hall of Fame player we are dealing with. Let’s show him the respect he deserves.
Melo did not become a 10-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection and a three-time Gold Medalist with the USA Olympic basketball team by accident.
Anthony ranked No. 2 in his class, behind Amar’e Stoudemire, in regards to the top high school prospects. He committed to Syracuse before his senior year, and boy was it the right call. During his one season with Syracuse, Melo averaged 22.2 points and 10 rebounds, while leading the Orange to their first NCAA Tournament Championship in school history.
In the Final Four game against the University of Texas, Anthony dropped 33 points, which at the time was an NCAA Tournament record for most points by a freshman. In the championship against Kansas, a team led by Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich, Anthony went for 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, all team highs, en route to 81-78 victory for Cuse.
Anthony was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and earned second team All-American honors, as well as All-Big East first team. He decided to leave college after his fantastic freshman season, and was selected third overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Denver and New York Days
In his eight seasons with the Nuggets, Anthony averaged 24.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. He led Denver to the playoffs in every season from 2004-2010. In 2008-09, Anthony brought the Nuggets all the way into the Western Conference Finals. Although they ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games, Anthony did not disappoint. As a 24-year-old, Melo averaged 27.2 points per playoff game.
In 2011, he was sent to the New York Knicks via trade. He was named an All-Star in his six full seasons with New York and led the league in scoring with 28.7 points per game in 2012-13. In 2014 against the Charlotte Bobcats, Anthony scored a Madison Square Garden and New York Knicks single-game scoring record 62 points in New York’s 125-96 victory.
Although he has yet to win a ring, and probably never will, Anthony is one of six players (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter) to have 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals, and 1,000 3-pointers.
Melo also has four seasons with at least 1,200 points, 150 3-pointers and 300 rebounds. The only players with more seasons matching those numbers are Ray Allen, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Paul George. He ranks 13th all-time in total games with at least 25 points and five rebounds. Anthony trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by 10 games in this category.
He has seven seasons averaging 25 points on better than 44.5 percent shooting and three rebounds. The only players since 1990 with more seasons averaging those numbers are LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Shaquille O’Neal.
NO. OF SEASONS AVERAGING 20 POINTS PER GAME
*= Still Active
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Love him or hate him, Anthony is one of the best scorers of this generation. While this season has been a disappointment, don’t forget how electric Carmelo Anthony once was.
Featured image by USA Today
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