Posts tagged ‘Carmelo Anthony’

March 3, 2011

Underrated: Chauncey Billups’ (Future) Production for the Knicks

by Jeeves

It’s Thursday, so time for something overrated or underrated


The big news preceding the end of the trading deadline, of course, was that after an endless dance, the Nuggets finally traded Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks. There was much rejoicing and a surprising amount of hand wringing after the trade was consummated. Due to the deluge of media coverage leading up to the trade, much of the focus was placed on Carmelo Anthony. The fact that Chauncey Billups was included in the trade was a mere afterthought.

The funny thing is that Chauncey may end up making a larger impact on the Knicks  this season than Carmelo. I’m not trying to argue that Chauncey is better than Carmelo or that he’s even close to being the player Carmelo is. I just think that as Amare and Carmelo try to mesh their high usage games together, that Chauncey will prove to be exceedingly valuable to the Knicks.

I realize it has been an extremely small sample size but their performance has shown this to some degree so far. Chauncey’s production, so far, has been far, far more efficient than Carmelo’s. I realize that Carmelo has produced more in terms of sheer numbers, but there is something to be said about producing efficiently. I’ll pose this hypothetical: Would you rather have a player shoot 6/8 from the field (2/2 from 3pt and 5-5 FT) for a total of 20 points or 8/23 from the field (1/3 from 3pt and 6-6 FT) for a total of 23 points. Yeah, 23 points is more than 20, but I’d much rather have a player put up that first stat line.

In any case, whatever your views on efficiency, it’s undeniable that Chauncey has been a more efficient offensive player. In his 4 games so far (he missed one with a thigh bruise), he’s scored 93 points while taking 49 attempts from the field; that works out to 1.9 pts per field goal attempt. That’s a pretty good number. If you factor in turnovers and look at points per possession, that number falls a little to 1.6, still pretty good. Carmelo on the other hand has scored 130 points but has needed 111 field goal attempts to reach that total, which is 1.2 pts per field goal attempt. His points per possession works out to 1.07. Another way to look at it, is at that rate Chauncey would score 160 points using 100 possessions whereas Carmelo would only score 107 points, using 100 possessions. It’s a little abstract to think of it like that, but it is a fairly significant difference. Another way to look at it is that league average points per field goal attempt is 1.2, the same as Carmelo and league average points per possession is 1.06, almost the same as Carmelo. In that view, Carmelo is producing at a rate no better than league average.

Carmelo has the superior per game statistics and the higher bulk totals due to playing an extra game and also playing more minutes that Chauncey. Another way to view things on a more level field is to look at their per 36 minutes stats. Per 36 minutes, Chauncey has averaged 25.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 6.6 apg. Carmelo on the other hand has averaged 25.6/4.7/2.4. There’s no arguing here that Chauncey has provided more output per 36 minutes. He’s outscored Carmelo, while providing the same number of rebounds (from the point guard position!!) and nearly tripling Carmelo’s assists.

I think part of Chauncey’s efficiency dominance is attributable to 3 things. First, Carmelo is a great scorer, but not an efficient one. Second, Carmelo, who has gotten used to dominating the ball since Iverson was traded, has to learn to share the rock with Amare. Finally, I think the D’Antoni offense generally benefits point guard play.

So as I said, I’m not trying to convince anyone that Chauncey is better than Carmelo. I am trying to say that his production so far has been underrated and that his production moving forward will also likely be underrated. There’s extreme value in efficiency, which is something Chauncey has in spades when compared to Melo.

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February 22, 2011

Musings on Melo

by Jeeves

So Carmelo Anthony finally got traded to his dream locale, New York (not New Jersey). As of now the trade shakes out as follows:

New York Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, and Corey Brewer

Denver Nuggets get: Timofey Mozgov, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Raymond Felton (plus draft picks)

Minnesota Timberwolves get: Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph

So lets take a quick look at this trade from the viewpoint of the teams involved and then at the end I’ll have some random observations that you may or may not see elsewhere.

New York Knicks

This trade is a no-brainer, to me, for the Knicks. As the team was structured before the trade, they were a middling playoff team in the Eastern Conference and that’s it. It’s possible, though unlikely, they could have pulled off an upset in the first round, and such an event represented the best case scenario for their season. The Knicks are not the Bobcats; the franchise doesn’t need the money from a playoff run. If this trade represents 1 step back before 2 steps forward (and thus costing the Knicks a playoff trip) they’d still make large sums of money as they sell out MSG. Blowing up (most of) the core of low playoff seed will not cost the Knicks anything. If anything, by adding Melo and Billups, they made themselves a more dangerous playoff team. Bench play is less important in the playoffs and if those two plus Amare are healthy, I would be much more worried about playing the Knicks than when they had Gallinari, Chandler, and Felton.

In the short term, the Knicks will probably sacrifice a couple regular season wins, but will come out of this as a better team in the future. They have assured themselves the addition of a top 10-15 player (depending on your view of Melo) which is a far cry from merely positioning themselves with the cap room for a top 10-15 player. Anytime you can do that in exchange for non-sure thing prospects, you do it, and worry about how the pieces fit afterwards. In basketball trades, the big thing, unless you’re trying to round off a championship squad or shed salary, is to come away from a trade with the best player. The participants in the trade may have differing opinions on who the best player is, but in this instance, Carmelo is vastly superior to everyone else involved.

Denver Nuggets

Masai Ujiri can take a bow for this trade. He continually raised the price for Carmelo and ended up getting it all. He knew that the Knicks wouldn’t (Renaldo) balk(man) at the price, as they were desperate to add Melo. It took a lot of balls and it paid off. Not only does Denver pick up some really intriguing pieces, but they get loads of cap relief. In fact, the $14 million-ish coming off the cap is enough to bring them under the luxury tax threshhold which has a two fold monetary effect. First, they don’t have to pay dollar-for-dollar the amount that they are above the tax line and second, they receive money from the pool created by teams that do have to pay the tax.

As far as Gallo and Chandler are concerned, I think they picked up two really good complementary pieces. They aren’t good enough to lead you to a championship by themselves, but they certainly are good players. I’m actually a big fan of Gallinari. He shoots really well from outside and gets to the line a ridiculous amount, plus he’s super young. There’s a lot to like about him. Chandler is a bit of a wild card for the Nuggets. He’ll basically tryout with them for the rest of the season which gives them time to decide whether he’s worth bidding on over the summer (assuming there’s a season) as he is a restricted free agent.

Minnesota Timberwolves

They did okay for themselves. They get some nice financial relief in Eddy Curry’s expiring contract, as well as $3 million to cover the rest of his expiring contract. They gave up Brewer who didn’t figure into their long term plans and they took a Michael Beasley style shot on Anthony Randolph. The Fighting Kahns need talent and this gives them some. Whether Randolph cashes in on that talent it another story.

Quick Thoughts

– Anthony Carter has a no trade clause. I think it would be hilarious if he exercises it and blocks the trade.

– The Knicks could play a high priced game of chicken by not signing Anthony to an extension until after the new CBA. They own his Bird rights so if they don’t sign him now, under the current CBA, it’s likely no other team will be able to then trump a hypothetical Knicks offer under the new CBA. It would be way to savvy and risky of a move to happen, but it’s still a possibility.

-Along those lines, imagine if the Knicks try to trade Anthony or Amare in 2012 for a signed-and-traded Dwight Howard.

– The Knicks are probably out of the 2012 Free Agency Derby which is probably for the best. Who know with the new CBA how things would even work out. As they say, a bird in the hand is better than a better bird in the bush.

– Denver’s trade makes Bryan Coleangelo look even more incompetent. Do you think the Raptors would prefer a package like this rather than the 2 Miami draft picks and trade exception they got?

– The Nets are probably lucky that the Knicks didn’t have the balls to stick to the original asking price. Prokhorov was willing to give up a ton of assets for Melo.

-If Isiah returns, him and Renaldo Balkman will be reunited. I guess it really was true love at first sight.

-This probably will signal the beginning of open trading season. I think most GM’s were waiting for this domino to fall before proceeding.

– I guess this trade happened much like Melo’s offensive game…jab step, jab step, jab step, pull the trigger when everyone knows its coming.

February 14, 2011

Melo Congratulates Self for Rising Above Self-Induced Pressure

by npiller88

Just so you know, Carmelo Anothony is doing a great job handling all the pressure from the constant trade rumors. Don’t believe me? Don’t take my word for it, take his:

I think it takes a strong-willed person, a strong-minded person, to deal with the stuff that I deal with and still go out there and go to work every day and perform on a nightly basis. I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that’s going on and still be able to go out there and play at the high level that I can play at. I really don’t think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don’t think that.

Can you take your hat off to yourself? I guess it’s physically possible.. Regardless, as I was working through the cliches in this snippet and trying not to cringe, I couldn’t help but notice that a little tear had formed in the corner of my eye. Why? I guess I never quite realized how hard this has all been for Melo. He’s had to endure an entire season of doing his job! AND, he’s only being compensated 17.6 million dollars this year to do so! Not only that, but he’s been the subject of never ending trade rumors that have cast a stormy pall over the Denver Nuggets this season. Sure, he may have initiated the controversy by turning down a 65 million dollar extension offer over three years from the Nuggets (despite their status as a perennial contender during his tenure there), but let’s remember who the real victim is. Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri (who’s job has been made tougher now that Carmelo has made it clear that he wants out, causing his trade value to plummet) you say? His teammates (who have had to play alongside Melo all season while knowing he doesn’t think they can be an adequate supporting cast)? NO! Ridiculous suggestions… It’s Carmelo, obviously!

Can you imagine what it’s like to have to play basketball for a living and then see yourself on tv even more often than normal? Because of the controversy you welcomed? It’s hard! But I, for one, would like to give kudos to Melo, who has stuck it out through thick and thin and ups and downs, and has really rolled with the punches (it appears that Melo has inundated my writing style due to over-exposure). But even with the constant pressure of hearing his name mentioned in possible deals that would send him to cities in which he clearly wants to live, he has still managed  to average 25 points per game, as well as nearly 35 over the last five games, when trade talk has really heated up (never mind that the team is 2-3 in those games). I’ve started to weep a little bit every night, when I think about the uncertainty of Carmelo’s future. Sure, lots of Americans worry about where their next job will come from, but at least they know which city it will likely be in! (wait, is that true?) Carmelo, on the other hand, is in the cruelest limbo you can imagine. For those of you who aren’t quite at the platinum level yet, I should inform you that you can’t just hire a private jet pilot on a whim! Furthermore, it takes time to find the right real estate people in a new city. You think Melo’s just gonna blow that 20+ million dollars per year on a mansion WITHOUT consulting with an agent he’s taken the time to get to know? Not a chance.

But Melo doesn’t want your sympathy. No, far from it. What he wants is your recognition of his sheer will. Is that too much to ask? You might wonder, where does he find the motivation to play so hard when he’s being compensated so poorly and playing in such a boring city like Denver? I wonder about that too. Without straight-shooters like Melo, it would be hard to tell the victims and the perpetrators apart.

For those of us who’ve perhaps been too quick to criticize Melo, It’s time to step into his shoes for a change. But I’ll warn you, its not a task fit for the “average” among us.

January 21, 2011

Kobe Recalls Being Booed at Home Once, Feels Melo’s Pain

by npiller88

Melo thinking Pirates??

As I sifted through the fallout from the recent failed trade of Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey, one tidbit caught my eye. When Kobe comments on something, it tends to be pretty be vanilla. But Kobe knows what its like to demand a trade (see the Kobe to Chicago and Kobe to wherever rumors circa 2007-2008). After Melo got booed by the home fans at Denver’s Pepsi Center following a paltry 35 point performance in a five point win over Oklahoma City, Kobe took umbrage at the fans’ reaction. To Kobe, who claims to have only been booed ONCE at home in his entire career (from where I sit in LA, the endless parade of #24 jerseys all over town makes this claim seem quite accurate), the Denver fans better be careful, lest they drive their superstar out of town. Let’s take a closer look at what Kobe had to say, shall we?

It has nothing to do with a bigger market.

Hmm… something is wrong with this statement. Melo’s links to the New York market are well documented, the big one being his wife Lala, a former MTV veejay. She wants New York, and Melo says “ok.” None of the teams mentioned in trade talks have been small market teams, and the two most heavily discussed have been from New York. Another team that has been discussed as a possible destination for Melo is the tiny hamlet of Chicago. A point for Kobe’s line of reasoning? I don’t think so.

It’s about winning.

Kobe might be on to something here. If Melo did indeed nix the Nets trade, then perhaps winning was a consideration for him. I just have my doubts that its his ONLY consideration. If it was, we would be hearing about Melo to the… Nuggets? After all, they are two years removed from a trip to the Western Conference Finals, a series in which they looked pretty close to being elite. With Melo, I peg the Nuggets as about one or two strong complimentary players away from being a championship contender. And this is the guy who, according to Kobe, would surely stay if the situation was right.

If Denver will make the right decisions, bring in the right personnel, then he’ll stick around.

Right about here, I’m guessing Melo wishes Kobe had kept his mouth shut. Let’s recall that 2007-2008 season when Kobe was hinting not too subtly that he wanted a trade. Kobe is trying to compare his situation of a few years ago with the one Melo’s in right now. But Kobe is LA. Try to imagine him elsewhere. It doesn’t work too well. Is Melo Denver? Not really. The point is, it’s much easier to say you’ll stick around if you live in a huge market like LA. Plus, Melo hasn’t really given any indication that he wants to stay in Denver, personnel be damned. Whatever Lala wants, Lala gets.

It’s not rocket science.

Can’t argue with that.

Again, like Lebron before him, the superstar is the victim. Poor Melo, getting booed by the home crowd. Kobe warns the Denver fans that their jeers could make up Melo’s mind for him, so they better keep quiet. That’s kind of like advising a spurned boyfriend to get on his knees and plead with his ex to stay, even after she told him to go fuck himself.

Kobe, please. He wants out. Prove me wrong Melo.