Syracuse Basketball: Carmelo Anthony ‘cared about stats more than wins’

A Former teammate of Syracuse basketball star Carmelo Anthony recently said Melo cared about stats more than wins. Here’s why he’s wrong.

Carmelo Anthony spent one year with the Syracuse basketball squad and delivered a National Championship. Now Melo is just hoping to latch on to an NBA team this summer to earn a championship ring.

Although former teammate of Carmelo, Chauncey Billups recently made waves when he joined the national radio circuit and said that the former Orange star always ‘cared about stats more than winning’:

“I feel bad for Melo, and here’s why: Carmelo was like a good teammate, man. Melo practiced every game. He didn’t miss any games. Now the only thing I will say and I’ve told Melo this before, Melo scoring 30 meant too much to him.

He had games where he’d score 20 or 22 points and we won the game and he was mad. While there’d be a game where he scores 36, we lose the game, and he’s in there picking everybody up.

Scoring 30 meant too much, but I think now you fast forward the tape, and the reason why he’s not in the league right now isn’t that he’s not worthy. Carmelo just hasn’t mentally taken that step back to say, Ok I’ll come in and play against back-ups. I’ll try to help the team out.”

Let me lay this out right now. Chauncey Billups is one of my favorite point guards of all time.

He played the game like a true point guard should, and could be counted on to come up big in clutch moments, thus earning the nickname, ‘Mr. Big Shot’.

As an ESPN analyst, he has really been the only one on set who has been able to keep my interest, his analysis is often spot on. Rarely does Billups have anything that I disagree with, as he knows the game of basketball like no other.

Now let me switch all that up.

For Chauncey to say the sole reason Carmelo isn’t in the NBA right now is that scoring points is more important than winning to him is trash.

We all know that Carmelo isn’t the same player. In fact, we would be kidding ourselves if we think he could still be the top, second, or even third-best player on a team. But, if a team needs instant offense – and believe me, there are many teams that do – there are ZERO guys left in free agency who would be able to fill that role better than ‘Melo.

To me, the blame should fall on the team owners and coaches not wanting to take on Carmelo.

Of course, Phil Jackson with the New York Knicks and Mike D’Antoni with the Houston Rockets were prime examples of ‘higher-ups’ who didn’t like Carmelo’s playing style and practically forced his way out of town. To bring it back even further, while on the Denver Nuggets, head coach George Karl has admitted that he wasn’t a fan of Melo’s game.

So why does this all matter?  There’s a few reasons actually.

Reason one is the most obvious.

This league is by far controlled by the players. Yes, the owners have the BIG bucks and the coaches

still ‘coach’, but players practically run the league in terms of where they want to play, if they even want to play (Anthony Davis), and in some cases, if they even listen to their coach (LeBron James).

It has become apparent that this is what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants because he doesn’t want to see the NBA fall down the same hole as the NFL, where star players will hold out for an entire season if they’re not in a situation they like.

After all, the NBA doesn’t have even close to the amount of revenue that the NFL does, so by the NBA giving so much power to the players, they rarely have to worry about these instances.

So, since it’s a player-controlled league, then why hasn’t Carmelo signed with a team? I mean wouldn’t that be obvious? Well, that brings us to reason number two.

We know Melo’s game. My goodness, the man has been an NBA player for over a decade and a half. He’s an isolation player who thrives in the mid-range game, can knock down threes, and uses his strength to score in the low post. He can rebound well for a 6-foot-8 forward and while definitely not known for his defense, can guard fairly well if the effort is there. This was Carmelo’s game in 2004, and it is virtually the same in 2019.

Asking Carmelo Anthony to change his game is ridiculous.

There has been a growing theme that to win in today’s NBA, isolation basketball has no place on a team. In reality, THIS is what is keeping Anthony out of the league. But not because he’s unwilling to change – it’s really because NBA teams don’t understand that isolation basketball is still very prevalent.

Think about today’s superstars. Kawhi Leonard thrives in the mid-range game and plays a lot of iso ball. So does LeBron James (although his passing and championships also speak for themselves). Kevin Durant, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook all play a lot of iso basketball.

The problem here is that the guys all have other superstars on their teams that DON’T play iso basketball, so it kind of negates itself. Carmelo’s last two stops? Oklahoma City and Houston.

Yep, in the last two seasons, Melo has played alongside Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden – three of the stars who still thrive in isolation basketball.

To me, it’s not Melo’s mentality that’s keeping in out of the game. I know first hand that when the top player on a team has an off night, he’ll be a little upset, win or lose. Contrary, if he drops 40 in a loss, sure he’s going to pick everyone up. He did his part and had a very good game – so why would he be that upset?

Carmelo won at Syracuse and had success in Denver and New York. He never missed the playoffs once until late into his Knicks career. As a scorer, he can still be successful if a team needs someone to go get some buckets.

Next: Syracuse Basketball: Top 30 Players in School History

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of the Scoop B Radio Network recently provided some Carmelo updates:

  • A reunion with the New York Knicks is “unlikely”. Both sides were considering this possibility this offseason, but it just doesn’t seem realistic.
  • Carmelo has considered retirement this offseason:
    • “I’m sure [retirement is] coming soon. I’d be sitting lying to you if I said it’s not coming soon. I think I want it to come soon. I don’t think I want to do this forever, but because you love it so much, it’s hard to give it up,” Carmelo via Heavy.com.
  • ‘Scoop B’ reiterated that “landing with the Lakers for the 2019-20 season makes a lot of sense and they’re the front runners at this point,” via Heavy.com.