Team USA Basketball: Has Carmelo Anthony Played His Way off the Olympic Squad?

Charles BennettSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on March 20, 2012 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

At the beginning of the season, it seemed almost a certainly that Carmelo Anthony would be playing for the United States in London this summer.

But now, I'm not so sure, as Carmelo Anthony has been having what is arguably the worst season of his career.  This is the first season his true shooting percentage has been below .500; his effective field goal percentage has dropped to a career-low .428.  He is averaging less than 22 points and eight made field goals for the first time since 2005.  Furthermore, he's been battling injuries, and his Knicks team is apparently at his best when he is a non-factor.

Anthony is hampered by the fact that two other small forwards, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, are guaranteed locks.  (True, Durant and James can also play power forward, but in doing that, they'd have to share time at that position with Kevin Love and either Chris Bosh or Blake Griffin.).

Three other small forwards are finalists for the Olympic squad: Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay and Lamar Odom.  And of those, all but Odom have been better this season than 'Melo.

Both Iguodala (186) and Gay (175) have added more value to their teams than 'Melo (154), and also have a better shooting percentage.  They don't score as many points as 'Melo, but then again, they are much less used and make up for it in ways other than scoring.

Iguodala, in particular, offers much more in defense and intangibles than 'Melo does.  This season, he is averaging more defensive win shares than anybody in the league except Dwight Howard and Josh Smith, and more total win shares than 'Melo.  He's also in the top five in defensive rating, the top eight in steals, and in the top 20 in dishes.  

By contrast, Anthony is very much a monolithic offensive player.  Iggy also offers more flexibility in terms of positional eligibility, as he can play both the two and the three internationally.

All that assuming that Coach K decides he needs a third small forward.

Experience isn't that much of an issue, as 'Melo, Gay, and Iguodala have all played internationally, and none of them has lead their team very far in the playoffs.

Bottom line: 'Melo's chances at the Olympic team are fading fast.