Portland Trail Blazers: Is Carmelo Anthony still a productive NBA player?

Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers . (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers . (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Carmelo Anthony is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, and an NBA legend. But in 2021, is he still a productive player for the Portland Trail Blazers?

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony has cult hero status in the NBA. He is one of the greatest scorers in NBA History, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Melo is an all-time great, who has played at a high-level scoring-wise for several years. He is an 18-year NBA veteran who has earned the respect of his peers and fans.

But, in the 2021 season, Melo has struggled.

Through 16 games, he has had a rough start to the season, and has struggled to impact the game on both ends. In some of the Blazers recent losses, he played poorly.

Melo is a scorer, and with his shot not dropping, then there should be a massive concern amongst Blazer management, and fans.

Melo used to be a decent rebounder, and a decent passer. He would find the open man or a cutter, and hit guys out of the post. He would box out on defense, and use his frame to grab boards on both ends.

But, as his athleticism has declined, he hasn’t boxed more guys out, or used better positioning to assist his team on that end. Through 16 games, Melo has one of the lowest offensive rebound rates in the league for his position, and one of his career-low rates on the defensive glass.

Though Melo posting up and shooting from the perimeter may explain the O glass numbers, the defensive rebounding is a massive problem. The passing is also an issue, because Melo has the ball in his hands so much. He is one of the worst passing power forwards in the game.

Defensively, Melo has been more active under the rim and in the passing lanes, but his man defense and effort has been less than impressive. I think that, at age 36, Melo shouldn’t be playing 26 minutes a night as a defender in the all-important power forward position.

So this is on the team in a lot of ways, for playing him this much.

As a defender, Melo is really struggling to contain players in any half-court or transition set. He gets blown by regularly, and as a team defender, though he helps with some stops under the basket, he regularly makes mistakes in help, and loses his man on boxouts or rotations.

Because he cannot impact the game in any other way, Melo needs to be an efficient scorer. If he isn’t rebounding, passing, or playing good man defense, then he needs to be scoring at a high level.

Currently, Melo is shooting an abysmal 40 percent at the rim. Not only is this the lowest mark of his career, but it is one of the worst shooting percentages at the rim in the league.

As far as his other shooting numbers go, his hot start from three has eased back to around 37 percent, still a strong mark. Melo is a strong three-point shooter, so I expect him to hover around the 35 – 38 percent mark.

But, his midrange shooting is at a low that is concerning. At just 38 percent on these shots, this is a career-low when you consider his volume. Melo is still taking 5.5 shots a game from the mid-range. This is one of the highest rates in the league, and because he is only hitting 38 percent of them, this is also why Melo is at one of the lowest rates of his career, efficiency-wise.

Melo has had a rough start to the year. He isn’t playing at a rotation level currently, but if he can at least make shots, he may be able to keep his place in the rotation.

Melo has had an all-time great career, and I hope this isn’t the end for him. He deserves to go out on his own terms.

Next. Making the case for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in All-Star voting. dark