Sports

Nuggets Trading Carmelo Anthony to Sixers?

| by David Berri

According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated – Rod Thorn (the president of the Sixers) – is optimistic about the upcoming season.  Thorn also would very much like to add Carmelo Anthony to the Sixers roster (at the cost of Andre Iguodala).

Lance Epstein – of Philadunkia – argues that such a trade would vault the Sixers from a fringe playoff team (where Epstein currently thinks they are at) to the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

For the opposing view we turn to Tom Sunnergren – who also writes for Philadunkia.  Sunnergren argues that the following would happen if Melo came to the Sixers:

Expectations would be high.  Through the roof.  They would literally explode through the roof.  After enough roofs were destroyed, people would learn not to keep these expectations indoors.  They’d be left outside to soar, to be free.  And why not?  Carmelo Anthony is the single best player in basketball not named Kobe, Lebron or Durant!  We know that because he scores the most. You can’t win without scoring points, anybody knows that.  And the guy he’s replacing?  Iguodala?  More like “ugly(jumper)odala!”  That guy sucks.  Look at his scoring for crying out loud.  Carmelo scores waaaaaaay more than him.  Carmelo, points, Carmelo, twenty-eight a game, Carmelo, scorer, Carmellllllllloooooo!  That’s how the conventional wisdom would go.   And who could argue with it.  Carmelo does score a lot of points.   And everybody knows the best player is the guy who scores the most.  Period.

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Pretty soon though the Sixers would have to start playing games, would lose these games, and this unexpected losing would cause the hype train –fuelled by a month of irrational exuberance– to tragically derail, possibly killing Phil Jasner.  After Jasner was mourned, people would return to puzzling over why the Sixers, the purportedly reborn Sixers, were losing games at such a break-neck pace. It’s the chemistry, Jrue Holliday hasn’t developed, Carmelo isn’t comfortable under the harsh Philly-spotlight, Doug Collins is the culprit, Lou Williams isn’t driving enough, Phil Collins is the culprit (The PA had played too much Genesis in pregame), Evan Turner hasn’t warranted his high pick, the papers would loudly speculate, throwing darts at the mounting losses.  The question that would be on the tip of everyone’s tongue (or the tongues of the few who were still paying attention to an NBA team with a .250 winning percentage) would be an understandable one: What the hell happened?

This, dear reader, is what the hell happened.  The reason the Sixers, despite swapping a scrub like Iguodala for a top player like Melo, would still suck is because Carmelo Anthony – all-star, 2ndteam all-NBA, Olympic gold medalist, NCAA national-champion, Carmelo Anthony– sucks.  And Andre Iguodala is a star.  Yeah, I went there.

The Sunnergren argument is primarily based on Wins Produced.  And the views of Thorn and  Epstein… well, they reflect the general belief that scorers are great players.

Obviously I tend to believe the Wins Produced story (okay, that was really obvious).  And I will add more observations to the Melo story:

If Melo is trades in the next few days (or weeks), the Melo’s new coach can expect the following to happen:

  • Expectations – as Sunnergren argues – will be sky high.
  • The team will fail to meet these expectations (because Melo is really not that productive).
  • The coach will get fired (quicker than he would otherwise be fired).

In sum, any head coach who gets Anthony should be dismayed.  Chances are he won’t be (because I expect most coaches buy the conventional wisdom on scorers like Anthony).  But nevertheless, he should be.

- DJ