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Only NBA player with 27,000 points but no Championships or MVP Awards: Can Carmelo Anthony redeem himself with the LA Lakers?

Carmelo Anthony at the Portland Trail Blazers vs Washington Wizards game
Carmelo Anthony at the Portland Trail Blazers vs Washington Wizards game
ANALYST

Carmelo Anthony enters his 19th campaign in the NBA with the LA Lakers. Joining his draft mate LeBron James for the first time in his career, Anthony has a lot to prove as he looks to win his first NBA title with the Lakers.

Anthony has been touted as one of the best scorers the NBA has ever seen. He has one of the finest midrange games and the ability to free himself from defenders. He has a career average of 23 points and 6.3 rebounds.

A six-time All-NBA, ten-time All-Star and 2012-13 NBA scoring champion, Anthony has achieved many laurels in his career. However, his most recent achievement came during the 2020-21 season. With 27,370 points, Carmelo Anthony is now one of the ten most prolific scorers in NBA history.

One of 10 👏Carmelo Anthony moved passed Elvin Hayes for 10th all-time on the NBA's scoring list 🔥 https://t.co/uVGXg9ZoJy

He is on course to pass NBA legend Moses Malone in the 2021-22 season in the scoring list. However, in 18 seasons, he has no MVP awards or NBA titles. So does that tarnish Carmelo Anthony's legacy in the NBA?


Early Years

Carmelo Anthony in action for the Denver Nuggets
Carmelo Anthony in action for the Denver Nuggets

Carmelo Anthony was drafted by the Denver Nuggets as the third overall pick in the historic 2003 NBA Draft. With draft mates such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Anthony going at third was a big deal.

He had a great rookie season in the NBA. Anthony averaged 21 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in the 2003-04 season, providing an early indication of his offensive prowess. Carmelo Anthony recorded ten 30+ point games in his rookie season, and was selected in the 2003-04 NBA All-Rookie team.

To celebrate Carmelo Anthony’s 36th Birthday today, we take a look back at some of Melo's rookie year highlights! #NBAVault #NBABDAY https://t.co/4VbAIX1HLW

Playoff shortcomings

Carmelo Anthony did enjoy going to the playoffs since his rookie season, but his runs were anything but successful. He endured first-round losses in consecutive campaigns till the 2008-09 season.

That campaign, Anthony played some of the best basketball of his career in the playoffs. Thanks to Anthony averaging 27.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, the Denver Nuggets fought their way to the Western Conference Finals.

Against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, though, the Nuggets fell in six games in a tightly-contested series. The franchise looked to go into a rebuild after another first-round exit the following season. With Carmelo Anthony entering his physical prime, the two parties had very different outlooks about his future.

That resulted in Anthony getting traded after the All-Star break, with the player and Chauncey Billups getting shipped off to the Big Apple.


Superstar in New York

Carmelo Anthony celebrates a point for the New York Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony celebrates a point for the New York Knicks.

Carmelo Anthony achieved superstar status with the New York Knicks. He was already one of the biggest stars in the NBA at the time. But playing for one of the biggest markets in a big city while being a New York native did wonders to his career.

With Carmelo Anthony emerging as a perennial All-Star during this period, his scoring numbers skyrocketed. In his third season with the Knicks, Anthony won the NBA scoring title after averaging 28.7 points per game. He also finished in third place behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant in the MVP race.

Carmelo Anthony continued to be a regular-season success with the Knicks, making the All-Star team in each of his seven seasons with the franchise. However, his playoff woes failed to abate.

The 2012-13 Eastern Conference Semifinals marked the furthest the Knicks got in the playoffs. That was also the last time the Knicks went to the playoffs with Carmelo Anthony.

With the Knicks not making the playoffs in the next four campaigns, Carmelo Anthony decided to join Russell Westbrook and Paul George with the Oklahoma City Thunder to contend for the title.

BREAKING: Sources report that the New York Knicks have agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City Thunder. https://t.co/FXO2C0TSkL

Failed Ventures

Carmelo Anthony had short stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets.
Carmelo Anthony had short stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets.

With three superstars in the OKC Thunder, the franchise emerged as a legitimate contender for the title. But postseason failures continued to follow Anthony, as the Thunder lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 2017-18 NBA Playoffs.

Anthony got traded to the Atlanta Hawks the following season and was promptly waived off. He then proceeded to join James Harden and Chris Paul at the Houston Rockets.

The Houston Rockets are reportedly sending Carmelo Anthony and cash to the Chicago Bulls, per @wojespn https://t.co/lOGtzWVSWo

After only ten games with the franchise, the Rockets and Anthony parted ways. Anthony, now 34, was past his prime and was looking for a team to play with after being waived by the Chicago Bulls. Sitting out the entirety of the 2018-19 season without a team, his chances of returning to the NBA looked bleak.


Carmelo Anthony revives his career with the Portland Trail Blazers

Carmelo Anthony discusses a play with Damian Lillard.
Carmelo Anthony discusses a play with Damian Lillard.

In the 2019-20 NBA campaign, Carmelo Anthony signed with the Portland Trail Blazers alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. While the team didn't make much noise in the playoffs, exiting the postseason in the first round twice, Anthony marked his resurgence as a role player.

After averaging 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game coming off the bench for the Trail Blazers, Carmelo Anthony emerged as a valuable piece in the rotation. Developing as a 40.9% shooter from beyond the arc in the 2020-21 campaign, Anthony showed that he could still contribute to contending franchises.

CARMELO ANTHONY WINS IT FOR PORTLAND! Final in Toronto:@trailblazers 101@Raptors 99 https://t.co/IQnPYbVugB

Can Carmelo Anthony redeem himself?

Carmelo Anthony gets his shots ahead of a game.
Carmelo Anthony gets his shots ahead of a game.

Considering what he has achieved during his career, Carmelo Anthony may not have too much left to prove. However, since joining the Lakers, the star has made his desire to win a championship very evident.

Carmelo Anthony knows he has a golden opportunity of winning the NBA championship with the Lakers 👀 https://t.co/I1rXiJyED1

But the question remains: can he redeem himself? With a history of playoff failures and inefficiency at various points in the season, Anthony can be seen as a bit off a double-edged sword. However, this is also open to dispute when his role with the Lakers is considered.

With an average age of 30.9 years, the LA Lakers have the oldest squad heading into the 2021-22 season. In a squad filled with seasoned veterans, the role Anthony will play will be very different compared to his superstar days in New York. That means Anthony could be asked to be a three-point threat and provide a scoring punch for the Lakers.

Carmelo Anthony remains an effective player if he is asked to play a specific role. Should he fare well in his assigned role for the Lakers, he could redeem himself and win his first NBA title.


Edited by Bhargav
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