Anthony Davis Or Melo…Who Would You Pick?

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    Updated: August 19, 2014
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    The NBA season is still a few months away and all the off-season news has been revolving around free agency and LeBron James watch 2014. Luckily until the regular season officially begins there will be the FIBA basketball tournament showcasing some of the best young talent in the NBA. One of those young talented players is Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. One of our resident basketball writers Bradley “Pete Rose” Clement (read his stuff on the site, it’s great) is a Pelicans fan and was the first person I heard singing Davis’ praises before it was cool to do.

    He called me this week and said, “As of right now, I would take Anthony Davis over Carmelo Anthony as the better player.” He’s a Pelicans fan so I needed a non-bias perspective on this. So I posed the question to four friends on twitter who I respect immensely on NBA topics. As you can see, two of them picked Carmelo and the other two picked Davis. The more people I asked the same results I would get. It seems split down the middle. So obviously I felt compelled to write on the subject and see which one I would pick and why.

     

    Putting Buckets In The Basket is The Name of The Game…

     

    Carmelo Anthony is one of the most gifted scorers the Association has ever seen. He can score from anywhere on the court and there are times where he makes it look so easy that it’s no surprise he’s always near the top of the points per game average every season. It’s usually a back and forth between Melo and Kevin Durant with Melo coming out on top in the 2012-2013 season averaging 29 points per game. Melo’s scoring prowess can’t be argued, and in that department he has Anthony Davis beat. Melo can beat you down low, on the perimeter and from 3. Last season Melo averaged 27 points per game on 45% from the field including 40% from three- point land and 2 offensive rebounds per game. His scoring range right now is far superior to that of young Anthony Davis.

    Obviously Melo is asked to more on the offensive end of the court and Davis is still young, but the discussion is about whom would you take going into this upcoming season. So Davis must be judged and what he can bring to the table now. Last season Davis averaged 20 points a game on 51% shooting from the field with 3 offensive rebounds per game. He’s also more efficient around the basket than Melo is. Within 5-7 feet of the basket, Davis is 67% from the field as opposed to Melo who shoots 56% from that same range. Both great numbers but Davis’ numbers are better close to the basket.

    From 7 to 15 feet from the basket, both their percentages drop but the edge still goes to Davis with Davis having a FG average of 43% while Melo averages 40%. But looking at the numbers from everywhere else on the court, the clear advantage goes to Melo. Melo shoots in the high 40’s from a lot of areas far from the basket, as opposed to Davis who shoots 35% in a few locations.

    Again, Melo is the primary scorer and asked to carry that burden for the Knicks, so the ball is going to be in his hands more often than Davis, but Melo is able to score with the best of them nightly. It’s going to be some time before Davis develops an outside shot that can even come close to being discussed when it comes to Melo’s, if ever. And it’s going to be a few more seasons I think before Davis is scoring 27-30 points per game which I believe he will do. In the next few seasons Davis will be in the discussion for the scoring title, but that’s not now. Davis will eventually get there but advantage Melo on the offensive end of the court.

     

     

    Defense Wins Championships…

     

    A lot has been made about Melo’s defense or rather the lack their of throughout his career. Analysts and basketball fans have always said Melo plays only one end of the floor and is slack on defense. I don’t believe that. I’ve watched a lot of Melo throughout his career and although he may not be a world-class defender, he does put more effort into defense than he’s given credit for. Davis on the other hand is already becoming the defensive titan that everyone knew he would be coming out of Kentucky. Davis is a blocking machine. Last season Davis averaged 3 blocks per game and 7 defensive rebounds.

    Having Davis around the basket changes everything that opposing teams want to do. If a team depends primarily on production in the paint from their bigs in the paint, then coming up against Davis is a nightmare. He can block, rebound, defend your bigs and with his wings span disrupt passing lanes all game long. And Davis is only going to get better in every defensive category. Melo isn’t the shot blocker or defender that Davis is and last season Melo averaged 6 defensive rebounds a game and 1 block per game. Those aren’t great numbers but Melo is known more for scoring. Obviously when it comes to the defensive side of the ball even at just 21 years old the advantage goes to Anthony Davis.

     

    You Can’t Put A Price On Experience…

    The name of the game is winning, and that’s universal in every sport. I can’t really say Melo is more of a winner than Davis is because so far in his NBA career Melo has done nothing to warrant the title of winner. And Anthony Davis just got to the NBA two seasons ago so he hasn’t really had the chance to prove he’s a winner. The only success either man has seen in their adult basketball lives is two NCAA championships with Syracuse and Kentucky. But Melo has been in the league for over a decade and he’s led a team to a Western Conference finals once.

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    His playoff record since joining the Knicks in 2010 includes a first and second round exit and missing the playoffs completely last season. But the Knicks missing the playoffs last season was not because Melo wasn’t a good leader or because Melo was playing bad basketball. 2013-2014 should have been Melo’s best season as a pro, but between a terribly dysfunctional team and organization around him, Melo’s team missed the playoffs in the worst Eastern Conference in recent memory. Put Melo on any team with a decent non-knucklehead supporting cast and he would have finished top 3 in the MVP race and possibly gotten his team deep into the playoffs. Davis is still young and raw.

    He’s finding his way in the league and developing certain skills like a really good outside jumper. We all know he’s going to be special but he’s still learning his craft and he’s at least 5 years removed from his peak. Melo is in his prime now and knows what he can and can’t do at this point. Davis is going to be a special player, but Melo’s been top 5 player for years now. If I had to go into battle next season with one of the two, I’m going with Carmelo Anthony. 

    Davis is going to rival Kevin Durant for MVP’s for years to come, and the league will be amazing with those two in their primes, but right now Carmelo Anthony is the better player in my opinion, and I would pick him over Davis on my team going into the 2014-2015 season. I don’t think either is a bad option and it’s just a matter of preference, but this season for both players is going to a special one, so let’s all sit back and enjoy.

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