Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Could Carmelo Anthony be a fit with Celtics?
|06.06.14 at 12:10 pm ET|
In case you missed it, Kevin Love pretty much became a member of the Celtics this past weekend. Ben Rohrbach filled us in on the worst-kept secret in Boston, as Love was essentially a public attraction all weekend long.
Operating under the assumption that Love indeed ends up in Boston, the search for the third member of the next ‘Big Three’ already is underway. And unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’re aware that Carmelo Anthony is the hot name to join forces with Love and Rajon Rondo and generate the next great era of Celtics basketball.
The problem is that many of us don’t like Melo as a team player, myself included. Despite his unique talent, he can be selfish and tends to have tunnel vision toward scoring the ball, blocking out the rest of the intangibles that result in … what’s the word I’m looing for? Oh yeah, winning.
So obviously the Celtics have no reason to add a player like that to their roster, right? Wrong. There is no alternative out there to Anthony, so Danny Ainge has to take what he can get. From there, the goal is to make Anthony fit in Boston, and here’s how you do it.
Melo clearly would be relied upon to score in Boston, it’s the most natural part of his game. But guess what? Anthony also is a good rebounder and passer who has the tools be a good defender. Similar to Paul Pierce, bringing those skills out of him is what could transform Anthony into a winning player late in his career.
The Knicks’ record was 12-5 last year when Anthony had five or more assists. Meanwhile, New York went 23-37 in games Anthony played in and dished out less than five helpers. Melo can pass the ball; Brad Stevens and company need to make him want to pass the ball.
Anthony actually is a fantastic rebounder for his position. He averaged a career high of 8.1 boards per game last season. Crashing the glass actually would be a strength for Boston with Rondo, Love and Anthony all being above-average rebounders for their size. Melo can rebound the ball, the key is to make him want to rebound the ball. Here he is ripping down 18 boards (although most of the highlights are of him scoring) against the Pacers — a strong defensive team.
Then there is the defensive side of the ball, where Anthony is viewed as a liability. This is only true simply because he doesn’t give his maximum effort on that end of the floor. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a huge problem, but it’s one that can be fixed. In games last season when Anthony had three or more steals (a decent way to gauge how active he was on defense) the Knicks had a 10-3 record, while they went 25-39 in other games Anthony played. But on a team with Rondo and Love, the scoring load is going to be shared, meaning his defense needs to improve on a nightly basis. Like the rest of his game, Melo can play defense, he just needs to want to play defense. You’d be hard pressed to find a video of his defensive highlights, but blocks like this show that the ability is there.
So what’s the point of showing you all of this? Carmelo Anthony can fit in Boston, the only thing stopping him from being successful on any team is himself. Anthony just turned 30 last month. Is it too late for him? Or can he refine his game for the better of his team?
There’s no right or wrong answer to that one. Only Carmelo Anthony knows if he actually is willing to put in the work to become a winning player. The real question is does Danny Ainge believe that Anthony can make the required changes? If the answer is yes, no need to hesitate. Go get him.
Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow.