There is no doubt that Carmelo Anthony will be inducted into the Hall of Fame after he retires. He’s one of the greatest scorers that the league has seen. Unfortunately, Melo's offensive talents are nowhere near his defensive chops. So much so that at one point, iconic commentator Mike Breen went out of his way to criticize Anthony’s lack of defensive effort.
“He’s the leader of the team”
In a game against the Orlando Magic in 2017, Mike Breen and Walt Frazier broke down a poor defensive sequence by the Knicks. It required a simple defensive rotation from Melo. Breen and Frazier were appalled by Anthony’s seeming disinterest in playing defense.
“He has to put forth a better defensive effort. He’s the leader of the team. This is unacceptable for a team that comes in with a four-game losing streak and knows the importance of these games,” Breen said.
Frazier added that the rest of the Knicks were performing poorly on defense. He echoed Breen’s sentiments that the effort should start with Anthony. Ideally, the rest would follow.
Melo’s defensive lapses
This wasn’t the first time someone pointed out Melo’s defensive lapses. The darkest chapter of Melo’s career was from 2018 to 2019. The Houston Rockets signed him in the summer, but after just 10 games with them, the Rockets suddenly moved away from the future Hall of Famer.
A report by Baxter Holmes of ESPN unveiled the details on why the Rockets, as well as the Oklahoma City Thunder, steered their vision away from Anthony. It all boiled down to his lack of defensive effort.
“One rival front-office executive notes that the league’s 3-point revolution makes it harder than ever to hide players who aren’t strong defenders. He’s talking about Carmelo Anthony -- someone, he says, ‘Who can’t defend, can’t close out, his feet are slow and he gets blown by.’ More than ever, offensive teams will repeatedly target weak defenders in pick-and-roll actions, the executive adds.”
In his relatively successful stint with the Blazers, it seemed that Anthony finally got over the hump. So much so that he was recruited by his good friend LeBron James to Los Angeles. He immediately became a fan favorite. When he came off the bench, the Lakers often received an offensive boost.
But from the looks of it, everything looked good just at face value. Anthony’s defensive chops were nowhere to be found even during his supposed renaissance donning the Purple and Gold. Jalen Green spilled the details on how the Rockets pounced on the Lakers in a regular season game.
Anthony remains unsigned at this point. There are not many rumors on the grapevine regarding Anthony’s future. The Lakers’ roster moves, as well as Rob Pelinka’s own words, make it clear that he wants the team to get younger. At 38 years old, perhaps Melo could provide some veteran presence on a young team. His offensive technique could prove vital to a young gun. His ideas on defense? It’s best if he keeps it to himself.