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Celtics

Robb: Putting Carmelo Anthony In Perspective

By Brian Robb, CBSBoston
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Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks complains about a call during a game on March 26, 2014. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks complains about a call during a game on March 26, 2014. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Ever since Rajon Rondo namedropped Carmelo Anthony as a hypothetical Celtics acquisition during a press conference with reporters earlier this week, nearly everyone has voiced their two cents on the All-Star small forward.

To refresh your memory, here’s Rondo full quote on the Anthony [and Kevin Love] from Monday.

“We would be a lot better if we had a guy like Kevin [Love]. He’s a range-shooting four. He’s going to help on the glass. Obviously we haven’t been the best on the glass in the last couple years, he’ll do a better job at that aspect. But this is all speculation. Nothing’s happened, nothing’s set in stone.”

Rondo continued: “We could talk about Kevin all day or we can insert Carmelo [Anthony’s] name in there all day. Nothing’s happened. We have a couple days left before the draft, things might shake up around that time. You never know. It’s still a long summer until the beginning of training camp.”

Let’s get a couple things out of the way here before going any further. To start, I believe that the Celtics finding a way to acquire Anthony is a pretty big long shot. It’s a discussion the team should not realistically consider as a possibility until the front office is able to acquire a second star like Love to put alongside Rondo.

Until then, Anthony wouldn’t consider coming to a rebuilding Celtics squad in all likelihood. And even if the Celtics do make a major splash around the NBA Draft, there’s still no guarantee Melo would want to come here if he opts out of his deal with the Knicks.

With that said, the fact that some Celtics fans out there are hesitant about even wanting Anthony in Boston if he became available is a bit troublesome to me. I understand some of the concerns. Anthony was the leader of an awful Knicks team last year. His numbers might lead you to believe he’s a selfish player since he’s topped the NBA in shot attempts per game for two straight seasons. His defense is questionable at best. Anthony has his flaws, as any player does.

When you judge him as a player though, it’s important to keep perspective on his performance over the last couple of seasons and consider these factors:

Coaching
Mike Woodson coached the Knicks for the last two years when Anthony led the league in field goal attempts per game. This is not a coincidence. The Knicks played under a very basic offensive scheme that relied on plenty of isolations. These kinds of situations ended up with Anthony in a one-on-one situation most possessions. Anthony was doing what Woodson wanted him to do in those spots and that’s shoot the ball.

Personnel
Take a look up-and-down the Knicks roster last season: Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani. New York had a brutal roster of overpaid veterans plain and simple. The vast majority of these guys were inefficient on the offensive end of the floor, putting even more pressure on Anthony to produce, which led to the inflated shot totals.

Under an improved offensive regime and supporting cast, I have no doubt Anthony would flourish similar to how he did in his Denver Nuggets days. Melo played under George Karl in those years and Denver boasted one of the most explosive offenses in the league, with Melo leading the way.

If Anthony ends up moving on from New York this summer, whatever team ends up landing him should help the All-Star flourish in an offense that isn’t overly dependent on him for a change.

Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.

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