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New York Knicks

Scaletta: Carmelo Anthony shouldn’t be in All-Star Game without tickets

New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, left, talks to Carmelo Anthony during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

Adam Silver finally did something that I don’t agree with. He gave Carmelo Anthony the All-Star spot opened up by Kevin Love’s injury.

I don’t want to seem unfair, but the only way Anthony should be in the All-Star Game is if he buys a ticket.

Silver’s reasoning, apparently, was that Anthony had the next-most votes from the coaches:

I think that’s bad logic, even if that’s how the replacements are normally picked. Doing something badly because it’s been done badly doesn’t make it less bad. Why not actually think about who should be there?

There are essentially two sorts of arguments you can make for a player being in the contest:

  1. Actual play this year warrants it.
  2. Legacy and “star status” warrants it.

Antony qualifies on neither of these arguments.

Actual play this year warrants it

First, let’s look at the normal argument: that play this year warrants it. Following is a list of players in the Eastern Conference who have a higher Player Efficiency Rating (PER) than Melo. The rank is based on Eastern Conference players only, and the list omits players who are injured (i.e. Joel Embiid). I count 12 players with a higher PER who didn’t get in.

East RankPLAYERGPMPGPERAll-Star
9Greg Monroe, MIL5421.822.36No
10Dwight Howard, ATL5129.522.05No
13Hassan Whiteside, MIA5232.921.64No
14Andre Drummond, DET5630.421.5No
15Brook Lopez, BKN5129.621.36No
16Nerlens Noel, PHI2919.420.92No
17Kyle O’Quinn, NY5515.320.86No
19Dwyane Wade, CHI4830.419.86No
20Bradley Beal, WSH5134.519.68No
21Jeff Teague, IND5732.619.65No
22Al Jefferson, IND5714.619.51No
23Goran Dragic, MIA4934.319.44No
23Carmelo Anthony, NY563419.44Yes

 

Now, sure, not everyone on this list deserves to be in over Anthony, as not everyone is playing starters minutes. But Howard, Whiteside, Drummond, Lopez, Wade, Beal, Teague and Dragic all are playing starters minutes.

And, yeah, Lopez is on the worst team in the league, and Whiteside and Dragic wouldn’t be in the playoffs, but neither would Anthony. And the Heat are above the Knicks in the standings, anyway.

Howard, Drummond, Wade, Beal and Teague all would be.

Other advanced statistics don’t favor Melo. He’s 48th in the NBA in Win Shares and 122nd in Real Plus-Minus. There are 16 players ahead of him in points per game, and Russell Westbrook (54.5) is the only one of them who has a lower true shooting percentage than Anthony’s (54.6).

Furthermore, the Knicks have actually been far better with Anthony on the bench this season. New York has been outscored by 5.1 points per 100 possessions in Melo’s minutes this season, per NBA.com. With him on the bench? The Knicks have outscored their opponents by 0.2 points per 100 possessions. This isn’t all his fault, but his overall impact is lacking.

Based on conventional arguments regarding personal and team success, there are at least five players who should have gotten the nod over Melo.

Legacy and “star status” warrant it

The other argument that people use is “legacy,” such as last year’s Kobe Bryant nod. The problem is that even based on legacy, Anthony doesn’t win.

First, based on the actual fan vote, Wade received 514,866 to Anthony’s 327,716, so if you want to try the “who the fans want to see” route, Wade should get in.

Second, Wade has had a vastly superior career. Look at the advanced stat comparison:

Career Advanced Stat Comparison
RkPlayerFromToGPERTS%USG%WSWS/48OBPMDBPMBPMVORP
1Carmelo Anthony2004201795821.0.54531.596.8.1342.5-1.21.429.6
2Dwyane Wade2004201790324.5.55931.9117.0.1754.11.05.257.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/17/2017.

 

In terms of postseason success, Wade has won three titles and a Finals MVP. Anthony got to the Western Conference Finals once and to the second round in the East once. Put another way, Wade has won as many championships as Anthony has playoff series.

Wade is also older, arguably having a better individual season and on a better team this year.

If you want to argue that Anthony got in on the legacy front, then you have to concede that Wade should have gotten in over him.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying Wade should have gotten in; I think it should have been Beal or Dragic. I’m just saying that if legacy is your argument, Anthony doesn’t even win that.

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