Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder are currently down 3-1 to the Utah Jazz after getting smoked by 17 Monday night. Given how bad Anthony has looked all season, it’s fairly clear we’ve reached the end of his effectiveness in the NBA.
Anthony will turn 34 on May 29, and he’s due $27.9 million next season. He can opt-out of that deal he chooses but, let’s be real, that’s not going to happen. Which means the Thunder can either keep him on the roster, or buy him out, waive him, etc. If Anthony is cut loose by the Thunder, who would pick him up? He’s moody, doesn’t like defense, doesn’t play well in a secondary role and he’s rapidly deteriorating statistically.
In 78 games this season, Anthony averaged career-lows in points (16.2), assists (1.3), steals (0.6) and minutes (32.1). He also shot career-worst percentages from the field (40.4) and free throw line (76.7). Meanwhile, his PER dropped to a career-low 12.78.
You want more? Because I’ve got more. His Value Over Replacement Player dropped to an abysmal -1.1 this season, which ranked 537th in the NBA. Yes, it was 537th out of the 540 players who qualified. Anthony’s Box Plus/Minus (-3.8) ranked 396th, and his Win Shares Per 48 minutes (0.77) ranked 305th.
So Anthony isn’t an inefficient, ineffective player, he’s also a just a bad one these days. He’s too slow to defend consistently and — try as he might — he’s not quick enough to beat guys off the dribble one-on-one consistently anymore. If he was a dead-eye 3-point shooter, maybe he could have some value, but he hit just 35.7 percent from deep this season.
So what’s the future for the 10-time All-Star? It’s clear whatever he’s doing with the Thunder isn’t working. That team looks like it needs to be imploded. Maybe Anthony could wind up collecting a cheap paycheck on a team with some friends — like the Houston Rockets, or wherever LeBron James lands — but that doesn’t seem likely.
Anthony’s time as a valuable NBA player is at an end. We’ll find out whether his career is over this summer.