/How Good Was Carmelo Anthony in His Prime?

How Good Was Carmelo Anthony in His Prime?

Today we’re going to look into another future hall-of-famer, who was also in the 2003 NBA Draft class. He is a ten time NBA All Star, six time All NBA-team member and NBA scoring champ, but has never won a NBA title…just yet. If you guessed Melo, then you’re right. Carmelo Anthony was the third overall pick in the draft, but hasn’t had much luck compared to Lebron, D-wade, and Bosh.


Melo was raised in a rough neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Baltimore at a young age. He commuted to Towson Catholic High School for his first three years. In the summer of 1999, Melo sprouted up 5 inches and was 6 foot 5 inches tall. He made a name for himself and   became one of the top players in the area. He was considered a “swingman” and during his sophomore year he averaged 14 points. His junior season, he averaged a double double with 23   points and 10 rebounds. He had a successful high school career but many pro scouts passed him up because he was skinny and they thought he lacked the strength needed at the pro level. He was highly recruited from multiple division one college programs after his junior season of high school.  

He decided to declare early, and committed to play for Syracuse University. Melo struggled in school and needed to keep his scholarship, so his mother decided to transfer him to Oak Hill Academy for his senior year. Oak Hill was a basketball powerhouse that won many national tournaments. He came head-to-head with the other high school phenom, Lebron James. Melo was chosen to play in the McDonald’s All American game and the Sprite Slam Jam Dunk contest in 2002. 

Melo’s senior year, he drew much attention from NBA scouts, but with low test scored, he decided to still attend college first. 

Melo played in one season at Syracuse in 2002-2003. As a freshman, he averaged a double double with 22.2 points and 10 rebounds. The Orangemen won their first ever NCAA Championship and after one season he declared for the 2003 NBA draft. 

Rookie Season: 

Carmelo was chosen third overall by the Denver Nuggets. In his sixth NBA career game, Melo dropped 30 points against the Clippers and became the second youngest player to score 30 points or more in a game. On February 9th, 2004, he also became the third youngest player to score 1000 points in a season. A couple months later, he became the second youngest player to score at least 40 points in a game in NBA history. He averaged 21 points per game as a rookie, and was the runner-up, next to Lebron James, for becoming the Rookie of the Year. Melo helped turn the Nuggets franchise from a losing team to playoff contenders when he joined the team. 


Denver Nuggets (2003-2011)

For his second season with the Nuggets, which was 2004-2005, he averaged 20.8 points per game. In December of 2004, he became the third youngest player to reach the 2000 career point milestone. Melo participated in the 2005 All Star Rookie Challenge, and played in the Rookie versus Sophomore game. He scored a game high 31 points and was MVP of the game. 

Melo helped improve the Nuggets season record by winning 6 more games than the previous season. They finished seventh in the regular season, but were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs, who ended up being the NBA champs that year. 

In the 2005-2006 season, he averaged 26.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He earned another career milestone of earning 1000 rebounds. He scored a career high 45 points this season as well. The Nuggets finished third at the end of the season and faced the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of playoffs, and did not advance. Melo signed a 5 year 80 million deal after this season with the Nuggets.

In the 2006-2007 season, Allen Iverson was traded to the Nuggets. The first game they played together, they combined for 51 points. He recorded his first triple double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, with a lost against the Phoenix Suns. This season Anthony made his All Star debut as a replacement. He finished this season as the leagues second leading scorer averaging 28.9 points. They made it to the playoffs once again as a sixth seed, and were eliminated for the fourth time straight not making it past the first round. 

In the 2007-2008 season, Melo received his second All Star vote and was a starter. He also scored a career high 49 points in a win over the Wizards. On March 27th, he scored his 9000th career point and finished the season averaging 25.7 points per game. The Nuggets finished with 50 wins and this was the third best all time Nuggets record since 1988. The Nuggets were the eighth seed, but got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Lakers. 

In the 2008-2009 season, Melo scored 33 points in one quarter, and tied George Gervin for the record. This season the Nuggets placed second in the western conference. Melo averaged 22.8 points per game. They won their first playoffs series and advanced all the way to the Conference finals. They were eliminated by the Lakers, who went on to win the NBA title that year. 

In the 2009-2010 season, Melo played with a clip on his shoulder. He scored 71 points in the first two games of the season, which broke another Nuggets record. They started off the season strong with a 3-0 record. He scored a career high 50 points against the New York Knicks. The Nuggets faced the Utah Jazz in the first round of playoffs, but were eliminated. Melo was averaging 30.7 points and 8.5 rebounds, which was his playoff career high. 

Going into the 2010-2011 season, Melo requested a trade and refused to sign a contract extension with the Nuggets. He began the season with the Nuggets on November of 2010. 

New York Knicks (2011-2017)

On February 22, 2011, Melo and Chauncey Billups were traded to the Knicks. He changed his number from 15, to 7. He helped the Knicks earn a sixth seed going into the playoffs, but were eliminated by the Celtics in the first round. 

In the 2011-2012 season, Melo struggled with multiple injuries throughout the season. Mike D’Antoni left the Knicks, and Mike Woodson took over as head coach. This was a better fit for Melo. Going into the playoffs as a seventh seed, they were eliminated by the Heat.

In the 2012-2013 season, Melo became the NBA scoring champ with 28.7 points per game and they were once again eliminated in the first round of playoffs. 

In the 2013-2014 season, Melo almost averaged a double double. He played in his seventh All Star game and scored 30 points. The Knicks missed the playoffs this year, which was the first time for Melo since he entered the NBA. Melo re-signed with the Knicks for a five year deal. 

In the 2014-2015 season, Melo joined the 20,000 career point club. He suffered a knee injury from the All Star game and missed the rest of the season. 

The 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 season, the Knicks missed the playoffs again and again. In 2017 Melo surpassed 24,000 career points and served as a replacement for the 2017 NBA All Star game.

2017 offseason/ OKC Thunder (2017-2018)

After only winning one playoff series with the Knicks after seven seasons, Melo demanded a trade. He was traded to the Thunder for the 2017-2018 season. He passed Allen Iverson on the all-time scoring list, moving to the 24th spot. The next season, he was traded to the Hawks, but accepted a buy-out and was on waivers.

Houston Rockets (2018-2019)

Melo agreed to a 2.4 million veterans contract with the Rockets in August of 2018. He only played in 10 games before the team decided to part ways with Melo. Melo was traded to the Bulls, but waived right away. 

Portland Trailblazers (2019-2020)

Melo was out of the game for a little while because no teams were interested in signing the free agent. On November 19th, 2019, the Blazers signed him to a one year deal. It has been a little over a year since he was played in his last NBA game. He has moved past Alex English into the 18th spot on the all-time scoring list. Before the NBA season was put on hold in 2020, Melo scored a season high 32 points. 

Prime Melo:

After looking into Carmelo’s career, when exactly was Melo in his prime? I would say Melo started off his NBA career strong and earned many accolades. He was always head-to-head in battle with Lebron James, who is considered one of the greats. From the start of his NBA career, which was 2003, up until 2010 Melo was in his prime, in my opinion. He successfully led the Nuggets and the Knicks to the playoffs, but couldn’t deliver all the way. From 2003 to 2010 Melo averaged over 20 points per game. He was apart of many controversial moments because of what coaches and critics thought of his game. He doesn’t pass enough. He shoots too much. He doesn’t involve his teammates, which was why his career took a toll like it did. Melo, had more good years after leaving Denver, but just a little past his prime. 

Some say he’s a future hall-of-famer, some don’t think so highly of him, you can’t please everyone. Melo is an extraordinary scorer and player. I’m glad he’s getting another chance to prove his talents with the Blazers because he deserves it. He also slimmed down for the second part of the 2019-2020 season, and many people say Melo is back in business.