This is the second post in a quick two-part series exploring a possible Carmelo Anthony-New Jersey Nets collaboration. Yesterday I took a look at how the Nets’ could get Carmelo Anthony. Today I discuss how Anthony would fit in with the Nets as a team.
By: John Fraty
To answer the question that I have posed to you guys: very well. I mentioned it in yesterday’s post, Carmelo will finally bring the pure-scorer mentality that the Nets currently don’t have on the roster.
Offensively, ‘Melo loves the isolation game. He was rarely involved in pick and rolls in the Nuggets offense, and often caught the ball on the wing and proceeded to work some magic. His jumper is one of the sweetest – and deadliest – in the league, and when he puts his head down and goes straight to the hole he is very tough to guard. He is also a strong small forward who quickly overpowers defenders on the block. I like the potential Nets’ offense with ‘Melo in the lineup a lot. The two most used weapons will be Melo isolations and the Devin Harris-Brook Lopez pick and roll – two very different looks that defenses are going to have a tough time adjusting too.
One more advantage to having ‘Melo is the potential to use Devin Harris as a deadly weapon off the ball. Devin has shown a nice touch from mid-range, and with ‘Melo commanding most of the defense’s attention, Devin will get many opportunities to come off screens and shoot quick jumpers. The same goes for new Nets’ sharpshooter Anthony Morrow. I expect the perimeter game of the Nets to be leaps and bounds better with Carmelo Anthony. Finally the Nets’ would have someone who would open up the floor for them and stretch the defense. Anthony is able to create his own shot and put the ball in the basket at an efficient rate.
I do worry, however, that ‘Melo may sometimes enter that I-need-to-carry-this-offense-all-by-myself-mode. He’s not a particularly great passer and will at times look to score at the team’s peril. My hope is that he can find a good balance between being a pure scorer and finding open teammates for easy buckets. Devin at the point will definitely be key in keeping ‘Melo in check, something Chauncey Billups was able to do extremely well when he was traded to the Nuggets a few years ago. Devin has the skills to do the same with ‘Melo, and the Nets’ offense will be much, much better with Anthony.
The main concerns with Carmelo Anthony arise on the other end of the floor. This is something else I had mentioned in Part I: ‘Melo’s lack of defensive skills can end up hurting this team. I believe, however, that Avery Johnson’s teachings will unveil a new ‘Melo on defense. We can’t forget, though, that Anthony was an immature player not too long ago and there is a chance he could be a threat to a better defensive future for the Nets. Right now his defensive statistics aren’t the greatest: he’s an average rebounder and isn’t much of a shot-block. Carmelo can be a great defender regardless of the statistics. The key is for him to buy into the importance of play tough D.
All in all I really do like the way ‘Melo would fit in with this team. Let’s say that the trade I proposed yesterday goes through, the starting lineup would look like this:
PG – Devin Harris
SG – Anthony Morrow
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Derrick Favors
C – Brook Lopez
The Nets’ would have arguably the best frontcourt in the NBA and a solid backcourt that could put up a lot of points. The bench would be led by Travis Outlaw and Jordan Farmar. Although this isn’t the deepest of benches, I’m sure Damion James will develop into a nice role player (check that, I’m positive he will) and the Nets still have a few more lottery picks headed their way to add to that core group of players.
Carmelo provides that NBA superstar/face-of-the-franchise leader that almost every NBA champion has had. His postseason experience, including that tough Western Conference Finals series against the Lakers two seasons ago, will prove invaluable to a team as young as the Nets. When the Nets make their move to Brooklyn, Carmelo may enter global superstar status.
Of course, this is all speculation until ‘Melo becomes an official New Jersey Net. Let’s all hope that becomes a reality.