- Mamadou Tall
Give Melo a Chance
There are 46 days left until the 2019–2020 NBA season officially tips off, and Carmelo Anthony still finds himself as a free agent.
With all the action and drama NBA fans witnessed from the 2019 free agency class, very few people would have imagined that Anthony would be among the remaining free agents. Well, that probably would have been the case three years ago.
The NBA landscape has changed since then. New stars, new style of play, a new “formula” for winning. In a new landscape where popular belief suggests that a stubborn Anthony has refused to change and adapt his game to the modern day. The picture being painted of Anthony isn’t all that accurate when looking back on his past 3 seasons. To say Anthony is being blackballed out of the league is an exaggeration, to say he isn’t getting a fair chance is a lot more reasonable.
Anthony is a 10 time all-star, three time Olympic gold medalist and a six time all-NBA honor recipient. Considered as one of the greatest scorers in his generation and a sure fire hall of famer. So why is it so hard for him to find a team to sign him? The constant stigmas attached to Anthony’s name is ego, laziness and attitude; while on the court he is labelled as a ball stopper, inefficient and a defensive liability. All labels that have seemed to follow him everywhere he has landed, and it doesn’t get easier to shake them off with his lack of postseason success.
The truth of the matter is Anthony never got a fair shot after getting traded from the New York Knicks three years ago. Anthony’s lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder wasn’t handled right and ended too soon. Many franchises tend to try to fast track themselves into title contention. It was evident that the Thunder were trying just that by putting Anthony on the same team as Paul George and Russell Westbrook. Putting Anthony alongside a ball dominant Westbrook and Paul George isn’t necessarily going to work right away. The Miami Heat’s big three had struggles in their first season together as every “superteam” in the past, present and future will. To expect a championship in one season is unrealistic.
Anthony deserved more than one season of trying to make it work, he along with Westbrook and George deserved more time to gel and get their chemistry together. Who knows what they could have been today with two seasons of playing together under their belts.
The following season with the Houston Rockets didn’t award Anthony with as much time as he had with the Thunder. 10 games was all he got. 10 games to adjust and perform to a new team, new system and new role. Not to mention he was expected to immediately produce under coach Mike D’antoni, who he had beef with while he was playing for the Knicks. Nothing more has to be said on the matter, Anthony was used as a scapegoat for the early struggles of the Rockets during the season. More time would have proved to be beneficial for the Rockets in the playoffs against a short handed Golden State Warriors.
It’s still hard to find many players who are able to put the ball in the basket the way Anthony has done for his whole career. It’s hard to find many players who can do it in a variety of ways that Anthony can. The game has changed from under Anthony’s feet, but his offensive talent isn’t something that should go unutilized. His experience and veteran leadership is something that can prove useful to many up and coming teams.
He has shown us he is able to thrive alongside other stars and alphas when used correctly. His play to win three Olympic gold medals is evidence of that fact. Anthony was able to stand out and be the leading scorer while playing with the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Dwayne Wade in the 2012 Olympics. Reducing him to a simple catch and shoot player won’t work as seen with the Thunder and Rockets. Anthony needs to assume the role of a sixth man similarly to Lou Williams of the L.A. Clippers and Jamal Crawford a couple years ago.
After seeing Anthony plead his case on ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith, it has become more believable that he would not have a problem playing the role of a spark plug off the bench. The Brooklyn Nets have seemed to realize this, as reports suggest they are looking into signing Anthony. If the signing does happen, this might be a project that will work. With the things he has learned from his time with the Thunder and Rockets, Anthony might capitalize off of this opportunity. Maybe the third time’s the charm.