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Monday September 25, 2006 3:33 pm

Dropping Dimes Draft Blog: Round 4, Pick 10

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Carmelo Anthony driving to the hoopRound 4, Pick 10: Carmelo Anthony, SF, Denver Nuggets

Carmelo Anthony’s basketball resume reads like he was made to succeed in the NBA - he played at the basketball factory known as Oak Hill Academy during his high school years; played for Hall of Famer, Jim Boeheim, at Syracuse University and won an NCAA title in his freshman year; he was chosen third overall in the 2003 NBA Draft getting overlooked at the number two pick in favor of a big man that has not come close to excelling as much as he has in the NBA… much like his mentor, Michael Jordan was when the Portland Trailblazers took Sam Bowie with the second overall pick in the 1984 draft.  Now, I’m not comparing Anthony to Jordan and I’m not going to compare him to the player he will be linked with forever, LeBron James.  But, comparisons are inescapable for Anthony and there will always be pressure for him to perform.  Afterall, he has a resume to live up to.

So, how does the burden of having to be the best affect Anthony fantasy-wise?  Actually, quite well because Melo is driven and hungry to succeed, having the ball in his hands quite a bit, attacking the basket with the fervor a high school senior at prom, and producing in any way neccessary to help his team win, which in turn, can help your fantasy team win.

Need proof of Anthony’s determination?  After averaging about 21 ppg in his first two seasons, Anthony came back last season and upped his scoring average by almost six points per game to 26.5 ppg last season.  While the increase in points is impressive, and good for 8th in the league last season, it’s Melo’s increase in shot attempts from the field (18.9 FGA in ‘04-‘05 to 21.4 FGA in ‘05-‘06) and the charity stripe (8.8 FTA to 9.6 FTA last season) while increasing both shooting percentages that is very telling.  Thanks to driving aggressively to the basket and shooting the ball closer to the basket, Melo shot 48.1% from the floor, a substantial increase from the previous season’s 43.1% and Anthony’s rookie season showing of 42.6%.  Another benefit of going hard to the hoop like the hoop lost a bet and Anthony is coming to collect, Melo is getting fouled and converting from the charity stripe - 80.8% last season, which was a slightly better than ‘04-‘05’s 79.6%.  Without another real scoring threat in Denver, fantasy owners can expect Anthony’s point and percentage production to continue.

Other than points and the percentages, however, Melo does not provide very substantial numbers in any other category.  He is average, at best, across the rest of the categorical board.  Although, in a team game and in fantasy sports, every little bit helps and veterans of the game know that.  Anthony averages 5.6 rpg for his career and this is pretty much what you can expect from him.  Although, it may be lower with the return of Nene and maybe, just maybe, Marcus Camby stays healthy, and maybe, just maybe, Kenyon Martin gets that spirit back that he had in college when he was a Bearcat.  Okay, so we can forget about the latter two and go back to thinking that Melo will probably average his career numbers in boards this upcoming season, you know, because he’s driven and all.  HOWEVER, it must be noted that his glass cleaning stats have decreased each season in the league from 6.1 to 5.7 to last season’s 4.9.  I’m betting on the over though.

The assists numbers aren’t too bad and pretty much consistent from season-to-season, averaging 2.7 dime drops per game.  Nothing to make you go DAY-UM, but from the three spot, not too bad.  Melo can steal the ball at about once a game and really doesn’t play the box to get many blocks, although it is at about 0.5 bpg and as I’ve said before, every little bit helps.  Regarding the triple shot, Anthony has decreased his attempts a bit since he’s attacking more inside, but he’ll probably give fantasy owners what he gave them last season, about 1.5 points per game, or in other words, half a trey per contest.

Overall, while Anthony’s game is improving overall in a real sense, fantasy owners are only getting excellent production from the points and percentage categories.  However…

How He Fits On This Fantasy Basketball Team

... this particular team has those points and percentages needs!  We all know that Ben Wallace can’t score much (man, is that an understatement) and we know that he can’t shoot from the free-throw line (MORE of an understatement), so Melo picks Big Ben and this team up in what Melo does best.  And what Melo doesn’t do well in, the other guys have his back… steals and blocks?  Got the Matrix and Wallace to do those things.  Treys?  Again, the Matrix and also Bibby can bomb from downtown.  Assists?  Thus far, only Bibby helps there, so I’ll probably be looking for an assist complement to this team next.  Maybe.  I’m not telling.  That would be bad strategy on my part.  Just wait, it’ll make your eyebrows do that wave dance thing that Jack Black does on occassion.  Seriously.  It’ll be good.

Other Team Members:

1.3. Shawn Marion, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns
2.10. Ben Wallace, PF/C, Chicago Bulls
3.3. Mike Bibby, PG, Sacramento Kings

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