Early Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Marc Stein posted on his twitter that ESPN sources had learned that the Cavs denied a Carmelo Anthony for Kevin Love swap. “I think I’m smarter than a GM but really just own a twitter account” people were outraged. “Why would Lebron ask for a playmaker then deny that trade??” (By the way Lebron was talking about a playmaker for the bench unit) they cried. So if you scroll through your twitter feed, you may think the Cavs made the wrong decision here. DO NOT THINK THAT. Ok, sure, Carmelo Anthony on a good day is still an incredibly gifted score, but what else does he do? First, let’s reiterate Melo is 32 and is rarely “on a good day” anymore. However, even on his good day, there are still way too many negatives to overlook his scoring. We’re going to go over 3 reasons why the Cavs were 100% correct in denying that trade.
This really isn’t a shocker, Melo is nothing short of abysmal on defense. He barely tries on defense most of the time, but even when he is trying, he usually gets out-matches. He’s too slow, and isn’t nearly athletic enough to keep up with the players he has to cover. He’s consistently late to give help on defense and doesn’t run off shooters the way any competent defender would. It’s no surprise the Knicks defense gets much better with him off the court. When Melo is on the court, opponent’s offensive rating is a 113.5, which would be 2nd worst in the league. When he’s off the court, opponents offensive rating drops to a full 7.1 points to a 106.4. It’s no surprise that the Knicks as a whole are 25th in defense rating and 20th in net rating. The Cavs aren’t bad on defense, but they could for sure use some improvements (their ranked 13th in defensive rating). So tell me why on earth would a team needing to improve their defense, trade for an incredibly poor defender??? Because he scores 22 points per game and can go off occasionally? That leads me right into my next reason…
Melo is an inefficient ball stopper:
It’s no secret that throughout Melo’s career, he’s been a bit of a ball hog. However, when he was putting up 27 a game on effective shooting, it was alright. When he’s averaging an inefficient 22 per game? No thank you. We’ve all already seen the clip of a frustrated Jeff Hornacek turn around and walk away after Melo calls for another ISO, and if you watch Knicks’ games, you’ll understand Hornacek’s frustration. There are so many plays ruined by Melo thinking he has an open shot or a good matchup and then sending up a brick. I know everyone thinks Melo is a vastly superior offensive player than Love, but it’s not that way whatsoever. Lets look at their stat-lines:
Melo: 22.6 ppg-18.4 shots per game-43.5 FG%-37 3FG%-54.3 TS%-19.6 PER
Love: 20.5 ppg- 15.3 shots per game-43 FG%- 37.1 3FG%-58 TS%-22.3 PER
The stats show Love is more efficient, but that’s not even the start. Love is much more unselfish and passes the ball out of the post way better than Melo does. He also is the 3rd option to Kyrie and Lebron, and if placed in Melo’s situation, would be averaging much more than 20.5 PPG (see his Minnesota years). Let’s not forget how superior of a rebounder Love is either (I’m saying this because Melo would play PF on the Cavs). Melo is a good individual scorer, but in no way shape or form a good team player. The only way the Cavs stand a chance against the Warriors is with unselfishness and good team play. Melo offers neither of those. Love trumps Melo as an overall scorer, rebounder, team player, and defender, but apparently people still need more reasons why Melo is a bad idea for the Cavs. FINE I’LL GIVE YOU ONE MORE.
Melo could sprial the Cavs out of control:
The Cavs are going through a temporary slump, but they’re still firmly in control of the East’s 1 seed and are virtually a lock for the finals. David Griffin I cannot state this enough: DO NOT TRADE KEVIN LOVE FOR A 32 YEAR OLD DECLINING PLAYER WHO PLAYS NO DEFENSE, WANTS EVERYTHING TO BE ABOUT HIM, AND IS A BALL STOPPER. Whew, that felt good. However, I really do have to make this clear, the Cavs don’t need to make this trade. Bringing in a player like Melo will disrupt the whole offense for who knows how long. It would essentially put 3 primary ball handlers (Melo, Kyrie, Lebron) all in the starting lineup. Don’t bring up the Warriors too because 1. they’ve had their struggles with sharing the ball and 2. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are not nearly as selfish as Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James. The Cavs are really fine, they’re in a slump just like they were last year, but there is no reason to risk it all with this trade. Melo is still a solid player, but he’s not what the Cavs need whatsoever. Kevin Love has been better than Melo this season, it’s not even a debate. David Griffin and the Cavs were smart not to get influenced by the occasional break-out games by Melo and stick to their plan. The Cavs no doubt made the right decision here. Melo is a high risk-medium reward AT BEST for the Cavs. Sorry twitter trolls, you were wrong about this one.
By Jack B.
Personal twitter: @Jackb_32
Timberwolves Twitter: @Twolvehustle