The NBA world was rocked on Saturday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded away James Harden to the Houston Rockets. There is no doubt the deal made the Thunder a less dangerous team this season, but what does the trade mean from the Nuggets perspective?
This was a game and effort simply not worth the time it would take you to read about. Long story short, the Nuggets move to 0-2 on their three game road trip in demoralizing fashion at Houston. Since more important matters like the trade deadline loom, I’ll limit this exercise to some story-telling and general commentary while I watch this latest loss wind down.
The game started off very strange, with the Nuggets hitting shots and the Rockets throwing a very early zone at Denver in response. At first, it didn’t seem to matter as Houston struggled to convert stops into points at the other end. The Rockets offense looked lifeless and Denver took control quickly. It was almost as if Houston was offering up the game at that moment, saying “just be patient, play some defense and you guys can go ahead and have this one.” At one point, the Nuggets lead reached 15 in the first quarter. Then…
The analysis of the quality of shots Carmelo Anthony attempts compared to some of the other elite offensive swingmen in the league garnered quite a bit of attention and also quite a bit of feedback from readers.
First of all, I would like to simply clarify what I was attempting to convey. The efficiency with which Carmelo Anthony scores is lower than expected for a player of his skill level to the point people are beginning to question his ability. Based on my observations the gap between Carmelo and other players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant is his propensity to attempt a larger percentage of challenged shots than his fellow star scorers.
I believe I accomplished that through my study, but it was a limited and very basic look at a complex subject. Because of that I wanted to address some of the questions and comments that were posed to me.
We are all well aware of the colloquialism “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Beauty is subjective. We can certainly develop a general consensus of what is beautiful, but we cannot remove the human element of subjectivity. I attended college in Indiana for two years and being from Colorado I was quite unimpressed with the features of the Indiana landscape, there was a friend of mine who was determined to convince me that a flat horizon was prettier than a jagged one. Truthfully, there is beauty in both the mountains as well in the distant horizon. Was one of us right, or more right than the other? That is a question that has no answer.
Some of the world’s great thinkers have tried to determine a scientific or mathematic formula to define physical beauty. Even if one day a formula is developed that can prove who is beautiful and who does not make the cut people will continue to debate the physical qualities of those around us. For every Stanley Hudson, there is a Sir Mix-A-Lot.
When you apply statistics and formulas to something a subjective characteristic, there is always room for dissent. That is the crux of the stats versus scouting discussion. While some believe numbers never lie others will never accept a string of data to contradict what their hearts and eyes tell them, even if it is corrupted by alcohol.
Beauty may be fun to talk about and more fun to ogle, but this is a blog about basketball. Unlike with beauty, statistics and formulas can paint a very comprehensive picture of what a player can or cannot do. The statistics tell us that Carmelo Anthony is not an efficient scorer. While his 28.2 points per game seem to suggest he is an elite scorer, numerous other stats decry that assertion as preposterous. Whether it is his pedestrian 45.8% shooting, his mediocre 54.6% true shooting percentage, or his league average 1.07 points per possession we have ample evidence that Carmelo is inefficient and when we subjectively look at what he does we are misled in thinking he is an immensely talented and versatile scoring machine.
This has troubled me greatly. I believe in the statistics. I know that efficiency is not a subjective matter, but a clear cut numeric certainty. I was one of the first people to decry Melo’s lack of efficiency.
On the other hand, I have seen every professional game Carmelo Anthony has played. The man was put on earth to make buckets. He is big, strong, quick, he can shoot off a jab step, he can shoot off the dribble, he can drive with either hand, even though he rarely finishes with his left, he does not reflect the meager abilities of the volume scorer some are making him out to be. My eyes see all he can do and I cannot believe that Carmelo Anthony is significantly worse offensively than the other more statically efficient superstars in the league.