Carmelo Anthony vs Kevin Martin and Danny Granger: Judging Their Worth

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Carmelo Anthony vs Kevin Martin and Danny Granger: Judging Their Worth
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

2010/2011 Stats

Carmelo Anthony
.522 True Shooting %, 31.8% Usage, 15.8% Assist Rate,  Assisted on 45% FG, TOV Rate 11.4%

Kevin Martin
.620 True Shooting %, 29.5% Usage, 13.2% Assist Rate, Assisted on 60% FG, TOV Rate 10.5%

Danny Granger
.539 True Shooting %, 27.0% Usage, 13.9% Assist Rate, Assisted on 55% FG, TOV Rate 12.0%

What makes Carmelo more valuable than Kevin Martin and Danny Granger, all within an inch in height and year of age?

 

Carmelo Gets to the Rim More than DG or KM and Has More Misses Than Them

Thirty-seven percent of Carmelo's FG attempts are inside, meaning not jump shots. This is far greater than Martin’s 20% or Granger's 22%. So maybe he sets his teammates up for offensive rebounds more.

I calculated that, during the course of a game, Melo’s misses lead to 2.92 offensive rebounds compared to 2.24 and 2.69 for Martin and Granger. I used the league average for offensive rebounding here. Anthony’s inside game might lead to more offensive rebounds and ones closer to the rim with a higher TS%, however. Unfortunately, I do not have data to calculate this.

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The Nuggets OR rate with Melo is 1.6% lower with him on the court, though, suggesting this is not a significant factor. Anthony gets a much higher percentage of offensive rebounds than his usual substitute, J.R. Smith, too, so his teammates must be getting far fewer boards when he is in than when Smith is in.

 

That Extra Usage is Very Valuable

Anthony uses more of his team’s possessions than Granger and Martin, but does that excuse his lower efficiency? The marginal TS% and approximately 28% usage would have to be fairly low for Granger and Martin to be less efficient scorers if they increased their usage to Anthony's level.

Kevin Pelton speculates that Anthony’s high usage is especially valuable because it allows the Nuggets to pair him with defensive-minded shooting guards who can focus on low-hanging fruit on the offensive end (Dhantay Jones, Aaron Afflalo, Yakhouba Diawara). Gregg Popovich seems to have mastered this concept, playing Bruce Bowen almost always with two of the following three: Ginobili, Parker, Finley.

Is it easier to pair a defensive-minded perimeter player than a defensive-minded post player with a talent like Carmelo? Is it worth having having Anthony use the last five percent of the team's possessions inefficiently? If it is less inefficient than the marginal scoring from defensive specialists, who can be acquired cheaply and offer great value on the other side of the court? I don’t know, but it's getting a bit off topic anyway.

 

Percentage of Field Goals Assisted

Anthony is assisted on 15% less of his possessions than Martin, and 10% less than Granger. That difference mainly comes from the fact that about 20% less of Carmelo's jump shots are assisted than the other two. How much more efficient would he be if he was assisted on 20% more of his jumpers?

An 82games.com study found that the difference in FG% of assisted vs unassisted two-point jumpers is 9.5%, and for three-pointers is 3.7%. Sixty-three percent of his attempts are jumpers; 89.2% of his jumpers are two-pointers. Say 20% more of his two-point jumpers were assisted and his FG% increased by 9.5% on those: his overall TS% would increase by only .0011 (.63 x .892 x .095 x.02). Perhaps at the margins the increase in TS% on a FGA from a potential assisting pass is higher than 9.5%?

 

Defense

Carmelo is not a very good defender. Not as bad as Kevin Martin, but not very good. I don’t have an easy way to quantify this, but I think most people who have watched him play would agree.

Surrounding Talent

Offensive Ratings
Nuggets 111.4 third
Rockets 109.9 8th
Pacers 102.6 26th

This suggests perhaps that Granger’s performance is more impressive because his scoring efficiency relative to his teammates is highest. One would think that the greater the difference between the scoring ability of a star and the rest of their teammates, the greater focus that player would receive from the defense. 

 

Conclusion

I only looked at this year, which might be unfair to Carmelo. It has not been a good year for him and he is expected to rebound. Still, Granger is not having a great year either. And perhaps his skill-set could be utilized more efficiently in a different system, though Pelton and others have pointed out that the Knicks are already getting good production out of Wilson Chandler and Danillo Gallinari at the 3.

Does this make him worth as much as two first rounders, Favors, Anthony Morrow and Devin Harris? This feels like Ditka trading for Ricky Williams.

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