Thursday, July 10, 2014

Selling the Melo-Drama (Why the Lakers should re-evaluate Carmelo Anthony)

I would’ve hoped the Lakers management learned from Dwight Howard to think wisely on which big names to chase. The Lakers need a new face but they need the right face and the right pieces around said face to work. That's why when considering Carmelo Anthony, I don't like it because it reminds me of the chase for Howard.

Howard is a great player but he wasn’t a good fit because 1) he didn’t have a role in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, 2) he was coming off a back injury, 3) he didn’t solve the Lakers biggest problems. Defending the perimeter and point guard play. Plus the Lakers didn’t need size as much as they needed help in the backcourt and on the wing.

Enter Melo. A shooting star who can score from anywhere. A volume shooter who happens to play similar to one Kobe Bryant. Which is nice except Melo isn't a ballhandler or a good defender. I've seen him for 11 years and I don't see where he can lead any team to a championship with the way he plays. Yes he won at Syracuse but Jim Boeheim's system isn't the NBA and while he can you into the playoffs, he needs more help than just outscoring folks.

So why go after him? Because he’s a big name? That’s a sign of desperation. You can’t convince me Carmelo is a great fit here with the team as constructed. When you need upgrades at point guard and defense, what on Earth makes you think he fixes those problems?

You don’t need chase stars. You need to select the right one because as Lakers history has shown getting big names doesn’t always work. Just because Melo is there doesn’t mean you ignore holes in his games that have been established for over a decade. 

It also means you don't ignore that the Lakers haven't had an All-Star caliber point guard in 15 years. Ron Harper and Derek Fisher were solid championship guards, Gary Payton wasn't a great fit and Smush Parker was...just Smush Parker. Ramon Sessions gave hope a couple years back but he didn't last after his initial start.

I've stated this on the record since 2011. The Lakers need point guard help badly and every year they wait, they get left behind in this new NBA where point guard play matters. They should be as aggressive in finding one (hello Isaiah Thomas?) as they are looking for their new face. It'd also be nice if they find guys who can play defense (welcome back Trevor Ariza?) so teams won't continue to have 1980's Night when they play the Lakers and run up the score.

Those are two guys who want to be here and are affordable. They're also attractive enough to lure other players here along with Julius Randle so they're moves that affect both the short and long-term so I'd suggest the Lakers look in the mirror and ask if they want to be random star chasers or grab building blocks who can be stars to attract the right fellow stars.

It's great that Melo and Kobe have a tight relationship and they would be professionals about things but I bet you both would want a point guard as much as they'd want to play with each other.
I know they want to win before Kobe Bryant retires but they have to balance that out with what's best for the organization.  Carmelo Anthony isn't the sole answer nor do I think he's the answer. This team needs more than a big name, they need the right pieces to fix their problems. Getting a star is great for ticket sales but if he doesn’t address on-court issues, what’s the use?

It’s foolish to only go after Carmelo and not build around him with people who actually fill critical needs. It'd also show the Lakers front office is desperate for buzz as opposed to making smart decisions and letting the spotlight eventually find its way back here. So here's hoping they remember what they need because come next year, somebody has to handle the ball and Steve Nash/Kendall Marshall aren't exactly the answer.

1 comment:

  1. Evan this is spot on. The Lakers have more hole than swiss cheese and with the Flippers playing so well, it just adds to the pressure they are feeling to add the next star. Kobe is just a stop gap for the next two years. LA is kinda "fickle" so if the team keeps sucking people will stop going. But people will pay to see a legend, so they don't have to worry about selling out Staples. So why chase Melo. Hell they still need a freaking coach. The Lakers have been a mess and I really hope something breaks good for them soon.