Even though most NBA fans and media expect Carmelo Anthony to be traded this summer, that shouldn’t be the case. Throughout his career, Carmelo has been described as the type of player who only wants to win games if he is seen as the centerpiece of the team. For instance, according to an ESPN the Magazine article called Carmelo’s way, he was angry that Jeremy Lin was getting all the attention from the fans and media for leading the team on a winning streak while he was out with a groin injury. In fact, sources close to many Knick players said: “Carmelo’s dream was to go to New York and be the man…….. and all of a sudden this little guy nobody’s ever heard of is living his dream”. As a result, for Carmelo to waive his no-trade clause, a team would need to tell him that he would be the primary offensive option. If a team were to keep this promise, they would have to implement an offensive system that is heavily dependent on isolation basketball. For instance, the team would have Carmelo post up in the mid to low block which would allow him to use his body to back up the defender thus creating the separation for the turn around jumper. Although Carmelo likes to post up, there are occasions when he will receive the ball on the perimeter and call for the screen. Once the screen is set, he will attempt to go over it and shoot the jumper. This type of system would give him an opportunity to put up big offensive numbers which would lead the media and fans to heap praise upon him because they only pay attention to the offensive side of the floor. While this system is beneficial for him, his teammates have a difficult time getting wide open shots. This is because Carmelo rarely attacks the basket which means a defender has to cover less ground to get back to his man if he decides to help on Carmelo.
Due to this, it is unlikely that a contending team would want to acquire Carmelo this off-season because, over the past thirteen years, the NBA style of play has transitioned from an isolation based offense to a pick and roll based offense. Before the 2004 season, NBA teams would have one of their guards bring the ball up the floor until they reached the three-point line. Once this happened, the guard would pass the ball into the low post where the big man would attempt to back down the defender with one of his shoulders and shoot a hook shot, turnaround jumper or dunk. Furthermore, on occasion, the guard would attempt to score the ball himself by taking a couple of steps in pass the three-point line and trying to shoot over the defender or go around him to attack the basket.
However, during the 2004 season, the Phoenix Suns started to experience success running the Mike D’antoni pick and roll offense. This offense hinged upon the point guard bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man setting a screen. Once the screen was established the point guard would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, the point guard would go over the screen and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, the point guard would go over the screen as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not. This system helped the Phoenix Suns reach the Western Conference finals in back to back years (2005, 2006) which forced the rest of the league to incorporate more pick and roll sets into their offense.
Therefore a team who is thinking about acquiring Carmelo would need him to be a spot-up shooter that is in charge of making wide open shots when his defender is collapsing on the ball handler. If he is successful, the defender will have to stay close to him which gives the ball handler more open space to attack the basket and score. However, if he is unhappy or unable to be effective in the role, the team will most likely transition him into a sixth man role where he will be the primary scoring option for the second unit thus he can shoot whenever he wants while the starters are resting. Unfortunately, both of these roles would once again take the spotlight off of him which is the thing he craves the most.