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’94 Toons: The Case Against Carmelo

Predictably, this week’s edition of ’94 Toons, drawn by Troy Palmer-Hughes, touches on the issue of the day: Carmelo Anthony.

The illustration depicts one possible outcome from an Anthony acquisition: content in his ways to the detriment of the greater good.  Can Carmelo make use of his talents in sacrificing for the team?

Conventional wisdom has held overwhelmingly in favor of a pursuit.  This blog has endorsed such a trade. But the case against is equally compelling.

A reader, Blake, writes:

Melo is Allen Iverson at the 3. Would you trade anything important for AI? I wouldn’t.

later expounding:

Having Melo on the team is akin to throwing away possessions. He stole the ball and rebounded more than he fouled and turned it over, netting 2 possessions. But last season, for every 10 shots he made, he missed nearly 12. Teams get about 25% of the offensive rebounds. Thus Melo threw away about 9 possessions a game with his shooting, for a total of 7 possessions lost each game.

For comparison, Lebron James netted 4 more steals and rebounds than turnovers and fouls. He missed 10 shots for every 10 he made. Considering offensive rebounding, that’s only 7.5 possessions a game that are lost via shooting, with a total of 3.5 possessions lost per game.

Lebron loses 3.5 possessions fewer every game than Carmelo. For a team getting 1 point per possesssion (not that great of an offense), that’s 3.5 points on the scoreboard. That’s often the difference between a win and a loss. In fact, last year the Rockets averaged only .3 points less than their opponents. Throwing away 7 possessions does not help close that gap.

Here are the total possessions lost for a few other SFs:

Paul Pierce: 4.3 possessions lost

Gerald Wallace: actually gains his team 1.8 possessions

Andrew Iguodala: 2 possessions lost

The difference in efficiency matters. Carmelo is a great athlete, yes, but just because his game seems good and powerful doesn’t mean it is.

The stat-geek community has been vocal in its belief of Melo’s true worth.  Might there be a fraction?  Morey himself has expressed this team’s need for a true superstar.

Writes Blake:

When Morey says superstar, I doubt he means what ESPN calls a superstar. He means a statistically productive and/or defensive superstar. He gave up a minor star in Rudy Gay to get a defensive star in Battier. Melo probably isn’t a superstar in Morey’s eyes.

’94 Toons is a bi-monthly cartoon illustrated by Troy Palmer-Hughes with commentary from Rahat Huq.

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of www.Red94.net.

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