Strengths and weaknesses
Carmelo Anthony averaged 27.4 points a game with a 56 percent TS%, with a PER of 24.4 and 8.1 offensive win shares.
But it sucks to be him, because he's a selfish ballhog and hurts his team. MAN, I SURE DON'T WANT SUCH A LOSER ON THE MAVERICKS ROSTER.
(Please send help: the Carmelo Anthony memes are holding me at gunpoint and making me say this.)
Honestly? I feel bad for Carmelo. At 29 years old last season, he played a career-high 38.7 minutes per game -- 18 minutes shy of 3,000. He was the Knicks, forced into a role larger than even Dirk was on those "no help" rosters, and it showed. The Knicks were terrible, and now he plans to opt out. What do you expect him to do after suffering through that 2013-14 New York squad? Andrea Bargnani was the third-best scorer. Raymond Felton nearly averaged 10 shot attempts a game (on 39.5 percent shooting from the field).
Oh, he's a bad defender? New York was more than two points per 100 possessions better on defense with him on the court. He played damn near 3,000 minutes for a team in a perpetual nosedive the entire season, so yeah, sure he might have shown some moments of "lazy defense." If you seriously don't think he can't play defense, go rewatch that Dirk Nowitzki game winner -- you can't defend too much better than that right there.
Oh, he never passes? He had a usage rating of 32.4 percent, but again, let me remind you the Knicks' third-leading scorer was Andrea Bargnani. Hell, the Knicks' second-leading scorer was J.R. Smith, which really isn't much better. Anthony held the ball for 3.6 minutes a game according to SportsVU. Some of the players in that same range? J.J. Barea. Will Bynum. AUSTIN RIVERS.
If he's not a passer, then neither is Paul George, who made the All-NBA team in front of him. For his 3.6 minutes with the ball, Anthony averaged 3.1 assists. George had the ball for 3.3 minutes every game and accumulated 3.5 assists a game. Slightly better numbers, but in the same range as Anthony.
I know there's people out there who don't want Carmelo on their preferred team, and to those people, I can only laugh uncontrollably. Seriously, I'm cracking up over here, probably looking like Arya Stark (spoiler alert for Game of Thrones episode eight).
Fit with the Mavericks
Let's acknowledge a couple things: no, the Mavericks don't have to resort to any tricks to get the salary space to sign Melo to a max deal. They have it right now. Signing him would cripple their chance to make any other significant free agent signings, but if Melo wants to sign in Dallas, you do it and don't ask questions.
Second: no, it's probably not going to happen. Not if Dwight Howard didn't happen, and not if Deron Williams spurned the team. Anthony doesn't have any ties to the Dallas area, and while the team is coming off the most success it has had since 2011, it's still not exactly a squad loaded with young, developing talent ready to take the league by storm. The Mavericks' sales pitch goes a little like this: "We have Dirk, who we believe will be stay at an elite level for a couple more years. We have Monta, who just finished the first year of his new career as a more efficient, completely capable sidekick to a true superstar. And we have Rick Carlisle, who just about outcoached the man who's about to lead his team to its fifth NBA Finals."
There. That's the pitch. According to reports, Anthony is willing to listen to a group from Dallas -- surely one that includes Mark Cuban. But whether that's any more effective than the past two seasons seems unlikely.
But the point of this section isn't to be a realist. If Anthony were to choose Dallas, how would it work? Oh man. That's quite the question.
Although he'd be the starting small forward, Anthony has morphed into playing a ton of power forward as well. You'd want to get him plenty of minutes there, which means some smallball lineups with Nowitzki at center. But with Dirk's minutes continuing to decline, you'd have plenty of opportunity to just play Melo at the four with a normal center.
You'd need to strongly consider breaking up the Monta/Jose backcourt by moving one of them to the bench, opting for a more versatile defender in the backcourt. And yes, by versatile, I mean "someone who could stay in front of a plastic bag who, for some reason, was dribbling a basketball towards the rim." I'm pretty sure neither of the current starting guards are capable of that.
And oh, just imagine the Dirk and Carmelo pick and rolls. Wait, no, imagine the Monta and Carmelo pick and rolls with Dirk spotting up on the weak side. Imagine getting Carmelo in the low post, forcing a double team only to swing the ball to Dirk on the wing for a 3-pointer. The things Rick Carlisle could do with that trio are unspeakable, just filthy.
Did I do it? Did I make you unreasonably excited for a player who isn't going to sign with the Mavericks this summer, but who they have a realistic enough chance at that you can't quite ignore me? I'll give myself a pat on the back and see myself out before I cause any lasting harm.
Here's the lowdown on Carmelo to Miami, although new reports are saying that it's just crazy speculation.
I can't remember reading anything particularly interesting on Melo this season. Got a good link? Drop it below.