It’s always fun to root for a story and there might not be a better story in the NBA right now than Carmelo Anthony.
Yes, Luka Donthicc is becoming the European LeBron James right in front of our eyes, way faster than anyone expected; and James Harden has somehow gone up another level after averaging 36 points per game last year. But Melo’s return to basketball has been the perfect blend of nostalgia, feel goodness, and just pure damn entertainment that always make the best storylines.
After being the scapegoat for the Houston Rockets’ poor start last year, Melo was all but iced out of the league, despite regular support from his NBA peers. His reliance on the long two (there’s no coincidence that our fantasy basketball podcast is called this nor that we worship the ground Melo walks on) unfortunately turned him a dinosaur in the new three point era of the NBA. Analytics all but made the long two obsolete and in turn, forced Melo out of the league.
Could Melo have changed his game to accommodate the new league? Of course, and in all likelihood his stubbornness to change was part of what kept him out of the league for so long. But he trusted himself, stayed in shape, kept playing ball however he could, so when the call came, he was ready.
And come the call did.
Seven games later, Melo is starting for the Portland Trail Blazers; averaging 30.3 minutes per game, 16.4 points, 6 boards, 2 assists, and shooting a career high from downtown (37%); just won Western Conference player of the week after averaging 22.3/7.7/2.7, and leading—yes, I said leading—the Trail Blazers to three straight wins; and still smack talking anyone and everyone on the court.
Wise words from Carmelo Anthony:— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 4, 2019
“Shoot that motherfu-ker.”pic.twitter.com/95EO393z7K
Like I said, it’s good to have Melo back in the league.
With numbers and volume like this, the Melo-issance not only needs to be taken seriously, but it demands to be on your fantasy team. He’s only 53% rostered in ESPN leagues despite being one of 18 players to average 16+/6+/2+ over the last seven games. The other 18 guys I can promise you are a lot harder to get onto your fantasy team. Melo obviously can get you buckets, but he also provides a pretty solid rebounding floor and his defense is improving, snagging a steal in three out of his last four games. That’s not a lot, but the occasional stock is always helpful given its importance in fantasy. His volume isn’t going anywhere as Portland continues to deal with injuries and fight to stay afloat in the West.
Besides, isn’t half of playing fantasy sports is having players on your team you enjoy rooting for? Who doesn’t want to root for 35-year-old Carmelo Anthony making his way back into the league? Hell, the instant he signed with Portland I dropped Aron Baynes, added Melo to my fantasy team, and changed my team name to H00die Mel00. Haven’t had one single regret since.
If you add Melo, I promise you won’t either.