There are a couple of things wrong with trading Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers. The first of which is that he’s a ball heavy player — he’s not successful without taking 15 to 20 shots a game. Right now, he’s averaging 19.04 field goal attempts per game. The Lakers, for the last 6 1/2 years, have been Kobe Bryant’s team. He eats up 19.2 shots per game. Enough said.
The second? He’s not a very good defensive player. As a possible member of a team that would be in compeitition with the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and most likely the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals, this would become a rather glaring problem. Besides Melo being an amazing scoring forward, a Gold medalist in the Olympics, he’s sort of average everywhere else. That can be hidden in Denver, and on Team America. But it can’t be hidden in a title run. And if giving up one of your 7-footers in Andrew Bynum is what it’s going to cost, the tradeoff doesn’t appear worth it when taking into account Nos. 1 and 2. But couple that with decreased minutes for … wait for it … Ron Artest, and the Lakers will falter with the likes of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Anthony, Bryant and Fisher on the floor. Only two of the five are really good defenders. And those two (Fish and Bryant) are inching their way closer to the 40-year mark than anyone likes to admit.
On the flip side
Where are the benefits for the Nuggets? This trade, as proposed, is Pau Gasol-esque. Two years ago, the Lakers traded for their all-star forward for Kwame Brown and some forgettable spare parts (Javaris Crittenton, of guns in the locker room fame, and Aaron McKie). Memphis got all the broken parts and the Lakers got all the glory. Andrew Bynum doesn’t make Denver better. It fills a need they have with Carmelo Anthony on their roster. But this ongoing trade drama with Melo is a distraction that has to have an end. I say let the guy play out his contract. But I’m assuming the team doesn’t want to get nothing for him. A better trade partner, the New York Knicks for instance, would make more sense and provide the Nuggets with actual parts they can use.