View Full Version : 9/25 ESPN INSIDER - Carmelo to outshine LeBron ?

09-25-2003, 09:58 AM
Nuggets rookie landed in better place
By Terry Brown
NBA Insider
Thursday, September 25
Updated: September 25
10:33 AM ET

What if LeBron James gets all the magazine covers, another nine-digit endorsement deal and a guest spot in the next Andre 3000 video and then Carmelo Anthony ends up averaging more points than him next season as the two rookies begin their NBA careers? Now, I know and you know that scoring points isn't everything. But that doesn't change the fact that the object of the game, the one on the court, across the stands and in the boardroom, is to put the ball in the basket.

And Anthony will have a better chance to do just that than James for two simple reasons. First of all, Ricky Davis isn't on his team. Neither is Dajuan Wagner or Zydrunas Ilgauskus or Darius Miles. Last year, the woeful Cavs won only 17 games but still had several players putting up big numbers. Davis, despite his lockerroom antics, should have won the Most Improved Player of the Year award after averaging 20 points per game. Ilgauskus returned from injury right onto the all-star team by averaging 17.2. In the month of November, Wagner averaged 19.8. And don't think for a second that Miles isn't looking for a little vindication after scoring only 9.2 per game last year.

And think about it. Ilgauskus isn't known for his board work or defense. Wagner is famous for his scoring exploits in high school. The all around Miles actually put up career lows in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage last year and Davis shot 41 percent only because he couldn't squeeze in shot No. 1,471 before being yanked. And they're all back this year for more. No wonder everyone's talking about James running the point. The only way he's going to touch the ball on a consistent basis is if the Cavs lob it to him from out of bounds. LeBron James may have a tough time finding shots this season.

Anthony, on the other hand, begins with a team in desperate need of scoring. Last year's team leader, Juwan Howard, is now with the Orlando Magic. Howard may have averaged a career-resurrecting 18.4 points per game last season but not one other Nugget player put up more than 10.5 and that was rookie Nene Hilario. Believe it or not, Shammond Williams was next at 9.4. And to top it off, arguably the best player on the team, well, the one with the best mix of talent and experience, averaged only 7.6 points per game last year. And even if Marcus Camby wasn't injured, he's never averaged more than 14.8 per game in his career and that was way back when he was a rookie in Toronto in 1997.

And the good thing for Anthony is that Camby likes to play defense, Hilario wants to rebound and Andre Miller plays to pass the ball, but we'll get to that next. The Nuggets may have scored a paltry 84.2 points per game last year, but they're going to need every bit of Carmelo Anthony to surpass that number this year. Second of all, this talk of James playing the point keeps popping up because no one has any form of empirical evidence proving that anyone on that Cavalier team can actually pass the ball. Last year, no one on the team averaged more than 5.5 assist per game and that was Davis, who, as we mentioned earlier, was also the leading scorer. World famous Milt Palacio, now with the Raptors, was second at 3.2. The Cavaliers averaged only 20.8 assist per game as a team to their opponent's 24, leaving a gap of -3.2, the absolute worst in the league.

And it's getting worse. The two players the Cavs have brought in to resemble point guards have averaged a combined 5.3 assists per game over their careers. That's both of them ... at the same time with Kevin Ollie and J.R. Bremmer playing on two separate teams. And we're not just talking about giving up the ball when a player gets double- teamed. We're talking about setting up an offense, feeding the hot hand, controlling tempo and egos and all that good stuff.

And just look at who Anthony has bringing the ball upcourt. Two years ago, Andre Miller led the entire league with 10.9 assists per game. As a rookie playing only 25 minutes a game, he still averaged 5.8. For his career, he's averaged 8 per game. He is a traditional pass-first, shoot-second point guard. And backing him up is little Earl Boykins who played less than 20 minutes a game last season for the Warriors but was still second on the team in assists with 3.3 per game.

Just because you're going to see James scoring more buckets on the front of your favorite sportspage every morning and on SportsCenter every night doesn't mean he's actually going to be scoring more points in the boxscore. Anthony will just be doing so without the flash bulbs popping in his eyes.

The Rookie of the Year Award may very well come down to the number of cereal box covers LeBron James is seen on and Carmelo Anthony isn't. But that may only give the latter that much more incentive to score that many more points, too.

09-25-2003, 10:33 AM
Thanks for the article. I am excited to watch both Carmelo and Lebron this year.

09-25-2003, 01:25 PM
Carmelo Anthony will have the better year just because hes played at a higher level of basketball then lebron. Silas did say yesterday that lebron won't start at the point.

09-25-2003, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by: jayC
Carmelo Anthony will have the better year just because hes played at a higher level of basketball then lebron. Silas did say yesterday that lebron won't start at the point.

I am so sick of this argument. Carmelo played in a little over 30 games at a college level. That does not mean he will be better over an 82 game NBA schedule, especially when LeBron has a much more NBA ready body and is the superior talent.

People act like Carmelo is graduating from UNC.

09-25-2003, 04:28 PM
I think Carmelo will have a better rookie year because he is a better shooter. His shot is so smooth, and he can put the ball on the floor. James will need awhile to get his shot worked on.

09-25-2003, 05:21 PM
I believe it, did he not come from an NCAA championship team? Lebron has played against nobodys, and Carmelo made it all the way through March Madness. Denver vs. Cleveland will be a great rival this year.

one long blue sock
09-25-2003, 06:38 PM
Good article, I like the credit to Davis.

Melo has got my vote until James proves otherwise

09-25-2003, 07:27 PM
I don't think either player will be rookie of the year, but Carmelo will have the better year.

Last year, when Lebron played, he was the tallest and biggest person on the floor. He will not only have to learn how to shoot, but he will have to learn how to take punishment in the post, getting a shot blocked by a 7 footer, play over twice as many games as he normally does. And since he's on the Cavaliers, he'll need to learn how to accept a lot of bad calls.

09-25-2003, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by: MavsFanatik33
I believe it, did he not come from an NCAA championship team? Lebron has played against nobodys, and Carmelo made it all the way through March Madness. Denver vs. Cleveland will be a great rival this year.

Juan Dixon came from an NCAA championship team and was the Final Four MVP.

Amare Stoudamire played against nobodys.

Does it really matter?

If you've got the body, the skill and the intelligence then you will succeed.

There is no evidence to suggest that Carmelo Anthony is better, or will have a better season than LeBron James.

09-25-2003, 10:35 PM
Did Glenn Robinson have a good rookie year? Most think he did. But he stopped improving and became a big fat slob who can score 20 and do nothing else.

Personally from what I've seen of Carmelo... he's Glenn Robinson all over again. And while Carmelo might put up better stats than Lebron for the first couple of years... Lebron should (and will IMO) be the better player.

09-25-2003, 10:49 PM
Bayliss I agree. I think Carmelo will be somewhere in the range of Glenn Robinson, Danny Manning and Billy Owens.

There is NOTHING special about his game. He is 6 foot 8 and he has a decent handle, decent athleticism and a good shot. That is it.

He is not 7 feet like Shaq or Duncan.
He is not an athletic freak like Kobe.
He is not a shooter in the class of Dirk.
He does not have the all around skills of McGrady.
He doesn't have the body or the passing skills of LeBron.
He does not have the quickness or the creativity of Iverson.

He will be good, but that is about it. He will not be a franchise talent, because there is simply nothing special about his game.