Why Carmelo Anthony's Failures May Be the 'Moneyball' Tipping Point for the NBA
Obviously, basketball's Moneyball moment may have been Moneyball itself. Or John Hollinger's ascent. Or Daryl Morey's hire as Houston Rockets GM.
There are quite a few precursors to the greater acceptance of advanced basketball metrics, specifically, the idea that points per game shouldn't be taken as a face-value indicator of a player's worth. But this smoldering pile in Madison Square Garden is our first grand-applied example and a huge step to quelling, "Ya, I know he's inefficient, but..."
Despite the aforementioned headway made by hoops rationalists, Carmelo Anthony's New York Knicks arrival was hailed as a grand triumph. His lack of popularity with "the stat geeks" was largely dismissed, as many prepared for New York's salvation.
Immediately after their trade with Denver, the Knicks did not really improve so much, but they weren't worse either. Carmelo went nuts in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against Boston, scoring 42 points in a near win.
The (understandable) response: "Carmelo Anthony showed himself to be the sort of talent that is worth trading everything for." The Knicks went on to get swept. Anthony went on to shoot 37.5 percent over the four games.
Still, there was hope that Anthony would show his true superstar colors, and that the player we all "knew" to be great would soon elevate the Knicks. It hasn't happened. All of the blame shouldn't be on Anthony, seeing as how Amar'e Stoudemire has fallen off, but Melo's shot-heavy, inefficient offense has evoked Marbury memories.
While we shouldn't be so reductive as to cite Carmelo Anthony as the anti-points per game trump card, his failure could prove to be a rhetorical sledgehammer in the pocket protector of many stat geeks.
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