After 19 years in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony has decided to call it a career. Melo was one of the best players of this generation and one of the most talented scorers the game has ever seen. He will easily be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and will go down as arguably the best Olympic player that Team USA has ever seen. Although his career had many twists and turns, it made for one of the best stories in recent history.
The Denver Nuggets selected Carmelo Anthony with the third overall pick in the historic 2003 NBA Draft. In his rookie season, he had a very strong case to beat out LeBron James for the Rookie of the Year award when he averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 42.6% from the field and 32.2% from three.
Melo and the Nuggets would be swept in the first round of the playoffs and Anthony would greatly struggle in the series. He averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game while shooting a very rough 32.8% from the field and 18.2% from three.
In his remaining five full seasons with the team, Anthony would average a great 25.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 46.5% from the field and 30.5% from three. Along with this, he would make three All-Star appearances, four All-NBA teams, and make the playoffs in every season with the team.
After requesting a trade, the Nuggets would send arguably the best player in franchise history to the New York Knicks. The Nuggets would receive Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a first-round pick, and two second-round picks. In return, the Knicks received Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman.
Anthony’s stardom would reach a new level in New York. He was the biggest name in basketball in arguably the biggest market in the country. Despite this, he would never see much postseason success as a result of New York being unable to find a true second superstar to pair him with. In this era, LeBron James ran the Eastern Conference with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. In the stretch that Melo was with the Knicks, James would make the NBA Finals every season.
Despite never making an NBA Finals appearance, Melo still played some of the best basketball of his career with the Knicks. He averaged 24.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 44.1% from the field and 36.5% from three. Along with this, he would make the All-Star game every season with the Knicks. He would also lead the league in scoring in the 2012-13 season and make two All-NBA teams.
After the Knicks were ready to begin their rebuilding process, it was time for the Carmelo Anthony era to come to an end. They would trade him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and in return, they would receive Enis Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second-round pick.
On the Thunder, Melo would be paired with Russell Westbrook and Camelo Anthony, however, it would be a failed experiment. While the team made the postseason, they were quickly eliminated. Anthony would become the scapegoat despite averaging 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game while being the team’s third option. As a result of the team struggling, the Thunder would let him walk in free agency and he would join the Houston Rockets.
As a member of the Rockets, Anthony would once again be in a great spot to potentially make a push for a ring. He shared the court with James Harden and Chris Paul, however, after only 13 games with the team, they would trade him to the Chicago Bulls who would then waived him.
After a rough end to his 2019-20 season and no team picking him up for the remainder of the season, it appeared that Melo’s career could potentially come to a very sad end. He was 35 years old at this time and was playing some of the worst basketball of his career. The narratives swirling around at this time painted him as a washed-up ball hog who killed any team that he was a part of.
Despite all of the negative storylines that surrounded Anthony at this time, the Portland Trail Blazers would take a low-risk chance on him and sign him to the team. This would end up being a decision that would pay off greatly for the team. Although they never made a Finals appearance with Anthony on the team, he was a very valuable player and embraced his bench role.
After two great seasons with the Trail Blazers, Melo would join his long-time friend and fellow member of the 2003 draft class, LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Lakers roster would not mesh well as a team in the slightest, and would not even make the playoffs after the team struggled through the season with injuries. In what would go on to be the final season of his career, Melo would average 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game while shooting 44.1% from the field and 37.5% from three.
Carmelo Anthony will be remembered as one of the greatest players of the 2000s. Despite not having the most success in the postseason, he was one of the best scorers that the game has ever seen. He had a pure jump shot and an incredibly deep bag. Had things gone differently for him in his career and he had a championship-caliber team around him earlier in his career, there is a strong chance that he could have ended up winning a championship. However, he would retire with the 12th most points in NBA history.
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