Has Melo gotten less Selfish?


Melo is having the best season of his career. And the conventional wisdom is that he’s turned a corner and become a better team player. And the nail in the coffin was a quote from Arturo (which will be showing up in a future post):

Mike Woodson has managed to get Carmelo to play unselfish ball. The coach of the year seems like it might not actually be enough.

I saw this quote and my jaw dropped. Has Melo actually been more unselfish? The answer is pretty simple: no! In fact, here’s a pretty fun breakdown. Melo’s been in the league 10 seasons. Let’s examine a few stats and give their respective rank.

Carmelo Anthony’s 2012-2013 Per48 Minute Stats

Via The NBA Geek

Stat Value Career Rank
 Field Goal Attempts per 48 Minutes 27.5 2nd Highest
 Three Pointer Attempts per 48 Minutes 8.1 1st (Career High)
 Free Throws per 48 Minutes 10.2 5th (Average)
 Assists per 48 Minutes 2.8 10th (Career Low)
 Turnovers per 48 Minutes 3.2 10th (Career Low)

Is Melo distributing the ball more or getting his team mates in on the action? No way! In fact, Melo is shooting the most he has since 2007! And Melo isn’t passing the ball (nor is he keeping up a hot assist to turnover ratio) And Melo isn’t getting to the line.

Melo is shooting a ton of three pointers, the most in his career. And he’s connecting on a ridiculous amount (43.5%), which is 10% better than his career average. And that’s really the secret of Melo’s current turnaround.  Every stat in Melo’s arsenal except shot attempts, shooting percentage, and turnovers are below his career averages!

Melo has improved but he’s done it by being more selfish and being good at it. As I pointed out, at one point in Melo’s career he was the best scoring option on the Nuggets. If you can sustain 60% True Shooting then by all means shoot away.

However, I’m skeptical if this Melo will last. His three point shooting just doesn’t seem sustainable. He’s also hitting 50% from midrange. Neither of these seems likely to persist. Regardless, when discussing if Melo is a better player because he’s turned a corner and become more selfish? Well, that’s just a myth. The truth is Melo is as selfish as ever but for once he seems to deserve the ball.

As a fun caveat though, while writing this Melo went 6-26, 3-12 from the three, and only scored 20 points in a loss to Boston. We’ll see if this is merely a bad game on a “MVP” season or if this is more of what we can expect in the future.


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