Carmelo Anthony intimated that he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers because he had a change of heart about his career priorities. Anthony told Stephen A. Smith of ESPN on September 14th that before he had a year-long hiatus from the league, he was at peace with not winning a championship.
However, since he came back, he desired to win a ring, which led him to sign with Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Anthony’s desire to win a ring will have to come at the cost of some more career sacrifices.
Let’s take a look at why Carmelo Anthony doesn’t have the necessary skills to thrive with the Los Angeles Lakers next season
Anthony has been a player who excels at creating his scoring opportunities. He has done most of his offensive damage in the post and isolations. Anthony has been averaging 3.6 post-ups per game since 2015, shooting 48.8 percent on 2.8 shots per game.
He has been able to average 3.4 points per game in the low post. Anthony has supplemented his post-work with isolation possessions as he’s averaging 3.4 per game over the last six seasons.
Anthony has a field goal percentage of 40.7 percent during isolation possessions on 2.8 shots per game, which has allowed him to generate 3.2 points per game. The combination of Anthony’s isolation and low post-work has helped him average 6.6 points per game: 36.9 percent of his scoring output.
At first glance, it appears that the Lakers would be able to appease half of Anthony’s skillset as they have been second in post-ups over the past two seasons, averaging 8.9 per game. Unfortunately, most of those post-ups have gone to the Lakers’ two stars, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, as they averaged 7.9 per game.
The Lakers’ choice to make Davis and James, the focal point of their post-ups, has contributed to most of their teammates being off the ball for a substantial portion of the game. For instance, Kyle Kuzma spent 29.1 percent of his possessions as a spot-up shooter, averaging 3.9 per game.
Kuzma wasn’t the only Lakers teammate subjected to this role, as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope spent 33.2 percent of his possessions in that same role, averaging 3 per game. Unfortunately, Anthony hasn’t done well in that role, shooting 39.9 percent from the field on 3.3 shots per game since 2015.
Furthermore, if the Lakers decide to accentuate Anthony’s strengths, one of LeBron James or Russell Westbrook would have to be off the ball in that role. Like Anthony, those two players have struggled to convert more than 41 percent of their attempts in the last six seasons.
Consequently, Anthony may get his playing time cut to the point where he only comes in when one of the superstars is not playing or when the team is winning or losing by a significant margin. Therefore, the Lakers and Anthony would be at a crossroads with three options to choose from.
The Lakers can talk to Anthony to see if he’s okay with being on the bench for a championship-contending team. If Anthony refuses to ride the bench and wants to play, that leaves the Lakers with two options.
The team can release him to allow Anthony to get to a championship-contending team that can benefit from his skillset. If the team doesn’t want to release him, the third and final option would be to trade him. Los Angeles can either trade him in a package for a player who could contribute to the Lakers’ championship aspirations or a future draft pick.
More importantly, James has given the green light to trade one of his closest friends in the past. James recruited Dwayne Wade to Cleveland in 2017. James told Wade that if Chicago didn’t want him, he would be welcomed in Cleveland.
Wade signed a one-year deal with the Cavaliers after Chicago bought him out. The reunion was short-lived as Wade’s offensive production plummeted. Wade averaged a career-low 11.2 points, shooting 45.5 percent on 9.5 attempts per game.
The lack of production led to Cleveland trading Wade at the deadline to the Miami Heat. Cleveland decided to trade Wade because they wanted to open up minutes for other players on the roster. Wade told Joe Vardon of The Athletic that he didn’t want to leave as he only came there to make another Finals trip.
If James was fine with trading Wade, Anthony should be aware that the same thing would happen to him. In conclusion, although Anthony desires to win a championship, Los Angeles is the wrong destination.