Amidst all of the reports of uncertainty surrounding Carmelo Anthony‘s future with the Rockets, a larger discussion regarding his place in the league itself appears to be on its way.
After being traded from the Thunder and subsequently being released by the Hawks, Anthony signed for the veteran’s minimum in Houston, where he looked to thrive in the team’s offense predicated on 3-pointers and led by two of the best guards in the league.
Unfortunately, Anthony’s offensive struggles have carried over from his lone season with the Thunder, as he is averaging just 13.4 points per game so far and knocking down just 32.8% of his 3-pointers. Anthony has primarily come off the bench but has received a sizable role due to the Rockets dealing with several injuries early in the season.
It’s not only the traditional counting stats that paint this as Anthony’s worst season, as he is posting career-lows in PER, Win Shares per 48 Minutes and Box Plus-Minus. To make matters worse, the Rockets are significantly better when Anthony isn’t on the court. Per Cleaning the Glass, the team’s defense is 9.6 points per 100 possessions worse when Anthony is on the floor.
Considering that Anthony has been a net negative when on the floor for several years and is likely going to find himself without a team sometime soon, what is his role in the league moving forward? Are there NBA teams that would be interested in signing Anthony should he be released by the Rockets?
A common response has been that the Lakers, led by another one of Anthony’s friends in LeBron James could bring him on as another shooter. However, it remains to be seen if that would be the case considering the youth and depth the Lakers have at their disposal (as well as their interest in signing him after his slow start).
Anthony will turn 35 years old at the end of this season, making it appropriate to discuss if this should be his farewell tour. Given his inability to be a capable off-ball player on offense and his dramatic defensive limitations, it’s likely that Anthony won’t find himself on a competitive NBA team moving in subsequent years.
To win at the highest level in the NBA, teams are increasingly relying on capable two-way players, switchable defenders and/or elite shooters and ball-handlers. Anthony meets none of those descriptions, as he is a throwback isolation scorer that best operates out of the mid-range.
What say you, NBA fans? Do you think Carmelo Anthony has a place in the league moving forward? Comment below with your thoughts!