Among the many positives from the NBA’s return is the fact that Carmelo Anthony has been a fairly effective player for the Portland Trail Blazers — and an integral part of the team’s surge to the eighth seed and the likely play-in series with either the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs or Phoenix Suns.
Along with game-winning bucket against the Toronto Raptors, ‘Melo has managed to score in double digits in six of seven games in the bubble and has accounted for 20 or more in four of those (and three straight, currently). Though it’s rarely been his strong suit throughout his career, Anthony is 50% from the three-point arc on 14-of-28 shooting, and is hitting over 47% of his shots from the field. The volume has even gone up of late, but his accuracy hasn’t.
This week, he took possession of 15th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Carmelo’s strong showing in Orlando has renewed the debate about exactly what his career is. Those of us here know he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer by the numbers and his accomplishments with both Syracuse and Team USA. But because of some defensive struggles, accusations of being a ball-hog and a lack of championships in the NBA, some have been willing to doubt his credentials. The last two seasons — a poor showing in OKC and flaming out with Houston — added fuel to that fire. This resurgence with Portland, however, should put all of that to bed.
No player’s legacy is perfect, and just because Anthony isn’t Michael Jordan or LeBron James doesn’t mean he’s bad. As discussed in this space before, he’s done a lot in this league with very little help, and I still think his ability to carry the 2012-13 New York Knicks to 54 wins remains an impressive achievement. The NBA’s style of play changes haven’t really aligned with his skill set. And yet, as a 36-year old, he’s now finding himself a key factor on a surging playoff squad.
This doesn’t erase the most recent lost seasons, or gloss over every flaw. But Carmelo has been one of the league’s great scorers, and even if he’s not that anymore, there’s obviously still enough left in the tank for him to make a real impact. The fact that it’s coming as part of a spirited run to the postseason (one that he’s helping fuel) should make for a fitting final act.
“I think the biggest thing is our young men have seen our testing procedure work,” Babers said. “They know that it’s effective. And then when they ask the question, ‘Are other teams doing exactly what we’re doing?’ and we can’t answer yes, it concerns them.” Orange players participated in a series of conversations on Thursday and Friday, some of which included Babers as well as athletic director John Wildhack. Babers described them as “Kumbaya meetings.”
Former Syracuse basketball star Carmelo Anthony achieved another career milestone on Sunday as he moved into 15th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He passed Paul Pierce in the process, and is closing in on several other players ahead of him on the list. He is less than 200 points from 14th place, where Tim Duncan currently resides, and is less than 1,000 points from cracking the top 10.
One reason the ACC feels comfortable with pushing forward is the way football teams across the league have had little to no coronavirus cases over the past month. On Tuesday, Louisville tested 100 football players and had zero positive results. North Carolina and Pitt have not had any positive tests over the past month, either, and Virginia has not had any since July 24. Boston College had zero during its latest round of testing.
Since his return to the Syracuse University campus, the 6-foot-11 sophomore center on the SU basketball team has remained quarantined in his campus apartment. That’s nearly two weeks of Netflix, reading, finishing up his summer school work and relying on teammates to bring him his meals. “Basically, I just have to say to myself, ‘Get through it, get through it,‘ ” Edwards said of the quarantine experience. “I’ve just been inside most of the time.”
Notre Dame had an elite opponent on its schedule again with a home game against Clemson, currently set for Nov. 7. But outside of the Tigers, the ACC’s struggles are well-documented. Notre Dame isn’t scheduled to play another team ranked in the top 15 of Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings, and only North Carolina (No. 17) and Florida State (No. 26) are in the top 40. The average SP+ ranking in the ACC is 5.9, just ahead of the Pac-12 (5.3), the worst of the Power Five conferences.