Carmelo Anthony should be a lock for the Hall of Fame
Even before the Portland Trail Blazers saved his NBA career by signing him when no one else wanted to, Carmelo Anthony was always going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer despite his lack of postseason success.
Since entering the NBA in 2003 with the Denver Nuggets, Anthony has been one of the more polarizing players in the league due to his style of play. He was famously called the last American ball hog by ESPN’s Kirk Goldberry since he’s more often than not going to shoot a jumper when he gets the ball in the post.
While Anthony has never been the most efficient scorer, he has scored enough baskets to warrant first-ballot Hall of Fame honors. There’s also the fact that Anthony won an NCAA championship at Syracuse and he’s arguably the most decorated Olympian of all time when it comes to USA Basketball.
So no matter what some of the analytics may say, Anthony has established himself as one of the best scorers in NBA history. He has the awards and recognition from his peers to show for it.
With the Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Blazers, Anthony has compiled averages of 23.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in the regular season. He has made 10 All-Star teams, six All-NBA squads and was the 2013 scoring champion. Anthony averaged 28.7 points per game that season for the Knicks. He also came third in MVP voting behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Both Durant and the late Kobe Bryant said Anthony is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, players to guard. Here’s what Bryant had to say about Anthony back in 2012:
“For me, yeah (he’s the toughest to guard),” Kobe Bryant told Stephen A. Smith about Carmelo Anthony. “He’s always been a player that I enjoyed guarding the most. He was the most difficult because of his size and his speed.
“Melo does it all and he’s as strong as a bull. For me, I weigh [180 pounds] soaking wet. Going up against that bull, man, it’s fun but it’s extremely challenging.”
It’s a shame that the back half of Melo’s career has mostly been filled with disappointment. Anthony’s run with the Knicks from 2011 to 2017 was supposed to be filled with championships. Instead, the Knicks only made the playoffs three times during the Anthony era.
The end of Anthony’s stint with New York was a disaster, and it finally ended in the summer of 2017 when he was traded to the Thunder. It got so bad in New York that Melo was getting booed at home games and Phil Jackson was ripping his star player through the media with the help of Charley Rosen.
Anthony made $26.2 million in his one year with the Thunder. His salary was just about the only good thing that happened in OKC for the former superstar. Anthony put up 16.2 points per game in the regular season as the third option behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George. The Thunder not only lost in the first round of the 2018 playoffs to the Utah Jazz, but Anthony was arguably the worst player in the series and OKC was actually better with Melo on the bench.
The Thunder wound up moving on from Anthony after just one year, trading him to the Atlanta Hawks in the offseason of 2018. That allowed Anthony to join Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, but boy was that even more of a disaster than the end of Anthony’s Knicks run.
Anthony played only 10 games with the Rockets. He was exiled from the team for months before the Rockets finally traded him to the Chicago Bulls.
Chicago waived Anthony and suddenly he was out of a job. Pundits thought his Hall of Fame chances were decreasing every day he didn’t get signed, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Carmelo Anthony had filled up the box scores enough to get into the Hall of Fame before the Blazers signed him, and he’s adding even more stats to his already impressive résumé. Melo is looking rejuvenated in Portland and proving he still has something left in the tank, even after it looked like his career may be over.
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