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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After six straight years in a Knicks uniform, Anthony was traded to Oklahoma City ahead of the 2017-18 campaign, where he was expected to form a new "Big 3" alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Of the three, Anthony was clearly the bottom feeder and his touches and usage took a significant hit after being the go-to guy in New York. Anthony's field goal attempts fell from 18.8 per game to just 15.0, which resulted in a career-low scoring finish of 16.2 points per game. His 1.3 assists were also the worst of his career, while his 5.8 rebounds were his lowest finish since his second year in the league in 2005-2006. Much of the time Anthony simply drifted out to the three-point line and waited for open looks from Westbrook and George. As a result, Anthony did knock down 2.2 three-pointers at a 35.7 percent clip. Still, after the Thunder were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, Anthony was quickly given much of the blame for the failed experiment and ultimately wound up with the Rockets after a trade and a buyout pushed him into the free agent market. Unfortunately for his Fantasy value, Anthony will be joining another stacked roster, one that nearly ousted the defending champion Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. With James Harden and Chris Paul running the show offensively, as well as the presence of the newly extended Clint Capela, Anthony is going to have to settle for a complementary scoring role. There's a chance the 15-year veteran could even come off the bench, which is somewhat surprising considering Anthony has publicly stated in the past that he wouldn't do so. All of that leads to the conclusion that Anthony will have to make some sacrifices with his new club and his willingness to do so could help determine his value. Anthony is assuredly walking into his smallest workload to date and while that essentially guarantees his production takes a hit, he could still have some value as a scorer and a deep-ball marksman on an uptempo team that led the league in uncontested three-pointers a year ago.
In his 14th NBA season and sixth with the Knicks, Anthony once again operated as the team's go-to option offensively. He averaged 22.4 points per game, while shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from the three-point line. It marked a solid improvement as deep ball threat, as his three-point percentage was the best it's been over the last three years and he also knocked down 2.0 threes per game, also his best mark over that same span. However, with Anthony taking on more of a role as a scorer, he struggled elsewhere and saw his rebounds and assists fall from 7.7 and 4.2, respectively, to just 5.9 and 2.9. That said, the Knicks finished the season in the bottom third of the Eastern Conference with a 31-51 record, bringing with it criticism over the future of the organization, as well as Anthony himself. In the offseason, Knicks president Phil Jackson publicly stated that he felt the two sides should part, so look for Anthony to eventually be traded to a new team heading into the 2016-17 campaign. It's unclear exactly where that will be and each individual situation could bring with it a different role for Anthony, so his Fantasy value is obviously as hard to predict as it ever has been. However, Anthony hasn't shown too many signs of slowing, so even if he joins a contender with a much more talented roster, his production would likely only take a minor hit across the board. He'll be a high-risk player for those opting to select Anthony before he knows his final destination.
After getting shut down following the All-Star break in 2014-15 to undergo knee surgery, Anthony was able to steer clear of any extended injury setbacks last season, suiting up in 72 games while a few of his 10 absences were for rest purposes. Despite receiving similar minutes, the 32-year-old saw his scoring drop to 21.8 points per game, with his shot attempts trailing off as superstar rookie Kristaps Porzingis emerged as a reliable second banana. Porzingis is expected to see an enhanced role during the upcoming season and the team also acquired high-volume chuckers Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings to bolster the backcourt, which could result in Anthony surrendering more of the offensive responsibilities. It may not ding Anthony’s fantasy value too much, however, as he’s coming off a campaign where he submitted the most assists and third-most rebounds of any season in his 13 years in the NBA. Maintaining his averages in those two categories combined with an improvement in his unusually low 43.4 percent mark from the field might be enough for Anthony to offset a further decline in scoring. He still shapes up as a top-50 player in the majority of fantasy formats.
Anthony enters this season with sights on rebounding from a frustrating, injury-shortened 2014-15 campaign in which he averaged 24.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.5 three-pointers in 36 minutes per game across 40 appearances. A partial tear of his left patellar tendon bothered Anthony for most of last season, before he ultimately opted for surgery in February. With a four-to-six month recovery period, that procedure allowed Anthony ample time to rehabilitate before participating in Team USA's minicamp in August. Given that involvement, as well as the remaining offseason, Anthony is expected to be full speed once training camp rolls around. At that time, Anthony figures to provide a considerable boost to the Knicks' offense, as his 24.5 points per game last season finished sixth league-wide. On the whole, Anthony's numbers last term bared a striking resemblance to his current career averages, although coach Derek Fisher's return to playing Anthony at small forward negatively impacted his rebounding average. In fact, following a career-best 8.1 boards in 2013-14, Anthony's average of 6.6 last season was his lowest since 2011-12, the season prior to his two-year stint at power forward. Now 31 years old, Anthony's familiarity in Fisher's system bodes well for this season, when a healthy Anthony figures to remind fantasy owners of his elite offensive ability.
Entering his 12th NBA season, Anthony finished second in the league with 27.4 points (45% FG, 40% 3Pt, 85% FT) per game last season. Along with more improved shooting percentages, Anthony posted career-bests in rebounds (8.1) and blocks (0.7) per game, as well as three-point makes (167). Additionally, the seven-time All-Star averaged 3.1 assists, 1.2 steals, and 39 minutes through 77 games played. The Knicks' face of the franchise, Anthony signed a five-year, $120 million contract this offseason to remain in New York and work under new head coach Derek Fisher and president Phil Jackson. While Anthony spent significant time at power forward the past two seasons, he's noticeably slimmed down this offseason to prolong his career and become a better fit in the triangle offense. Without the excess weight that so often allowed Anthony to bully defenders in the post, a more toned Anthony figures to be more fluid in advancing the triangle's spacing and ball movement principles. As a result, Anthony's number of isolation situations is expected to decrease this season, instead making way for more efficient scoring and assist opportunities. Currently in the prime of his career, Anthony is perhaps the league's most versatile scorer, and the triangle's potential to highlight Anthony's vast offensive skill set figures to ensure he remains an elite fantasy option this season.
Last season, ‘Melo won the scoring title and was among the league leaders with 2.3 three-pointers per game and 83 percent free-throw shooting. A scoring machine, Anthony's deficiencies in assists (2.6 apg), steals (0.8 spg) and blocks (0.6 bpg) can be overlooked after the truly elite guys are off the board because of how dominant he is in his areas of expertise. His 7.6 free-throw attempts per game signified his best average since 2010-11 (8.3), and if he could be more aggressive and get to the line almost nine times a game like he did in 2009-10, owners could take even further advantage of his fantastic stroke at the line. One thing to be wary of with regards to Anthony is his fragility. He has played 70-plus games just twice in the past nine seasons, so there should be no surprises when he inevitably misses a week or two here or there.
Anthony’s ability to score can’t be denied, but last season his 22.6 points per game were his lowest average since 2004-05. His 43 percent shooting from the field was also the second worst percentage of his career. He struggled to fit in with Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire, but there’s reason to believe that could change this year. With Lin in Houston, Anthony should be able to score more freely and start to lead the Knicks. He was dominant on the U.S. Olympic team this summer, and though international basketball is a bit different from the NBA, Knicks fans will be hoping that Anthony was taking notes on the way players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James approach the game. Melo has averaged just 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks per game throughout his career, which has given him a reputation of being just a scorer, but you can also always count on him for 6-plus boards per game and a bevy of three-pointers. His 3.7 attempts from long range last season was the second highest rate of his career. Anthony is a very safe late-second to early-third round pick, and should finish the season as a top-five player at his position.
Anthony has always been one of the league’s best scorers, but when he was traded to the Knicks near the deadline, the openness of coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense added a new dimension to Anthony’s value: the three-pointer. Although Anthony’s scoring average saw only a modest 0.5-point rise with his move to the Knicks, he went from converting 0.8 threes per game in Denver to converting 2.0 per game in New York. That contribution of 1.2 additional threes per game, in addition to his already impressive scoring average, elevated Anthony from a dominant scorer to a legitimate fantasy star. Through 27 games with the Knicks last season, Anthony averaged 26.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 three-pointers, 0.9 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.4 turnovers. In a full season with the Knicks, and with a full offseason for D’Antoni to plan how to use him, Anthony could very well improve on his already gaudy fantasy numbers.
If not the poster boy, per se, Anthony is at least an object lesson in the importance of understanding a player's value across all eight or nine categories (as the case may be) and not just his point-per-game averages. One could easily see that Anthony finished third in scoring last year (with 28.2 points per contest); recognize that last year's second-place scorer, LeBron James, is due for a slight decline now that he's with Miami; and figure that Anthony is a good bet as a top-10 pick. One would be unwise to come to that conclusion, however, as – among a standard pool of players in a 12x13 league – Anthony is only above average in scoring and free-throw shooting. Rebounds, assists, threes, steals, blocks and field goal percentage – Anthony does enough in these categories not to hurt his value, but not so much as to make him an early or even mid-first rounder. In leagues where turnovers count, his value takes another slight hit: his 3.0 turnovers per game last season really aren't bad for someone with Anthony's scoring ability, but they still count in the tally sheet. Moreover, there's the issue of Anthony's health. Knee and ankle injuries limited him to 69 games last year; the year before, he played in only 66. Of course, there's never sure a thing – anyone who drafted Chris Paul last year understands that fact all too well – and Anthony's still a big-time producer when healthy.
Anthony had a down fantasy season last year, posting four-year lows in scoring (22.8 ppg) and field-goal shooting (44.3%) while only playing in 66 games due to nagging injuries. The good news is that he exploded in an extended playoff run, getting his averages up to 27.2 points with 4.1 assists in 16 postseason appearances. Expect Anthony’s production this season to be more in line with those playoff averages, as that’s the track that he appeared to be on before the ill-fated Allen Iverson acquisition three seasons ago. Now that Anthony has gotten used to playing with new floor general Chauncey Billups, he should be able to return to the upper crust of NBA scorers. Anthony has always been a gifted 1-on-1 offensive player, using his big frame (6-8, 240 pounds) to dominate defensive wings in the post and a nice jab-step fake to open up his highly efficient midrange jumper. But he has the size and quick hands to contribute more on the glass and at the defensive end of the floor, and as he continues to get better as a distributor Anthony is becoming a more well-rounded roto performer. He’s also improved his long-range jumper (career high 1.0 treys/game on 37.1% shooting), and if he bumps those numbers up even slightly Anthony could join the elite.
Based on the offseason trade rumors – which had either Allen Iverson or Anthony getting shipped out in exchange for stronger defenders like Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince – we were expecting a Phoenix Suns-style conversion of George Karl’s Nuggets. Instead, Denver traded its best defender, center Marcus Camby, to the Clippers for nothing in particular and will go into the season with the AI/Melo core intact. Bad for the won-loss record, perhaps, but good for fantasy players. Anthony’s scoring numbers and assists have dipped a bit since AI’s arrival, but his improvement in rebounding (7.4 rpg last season), threes (0.8 per game), shooting (49.2% from the field) and steals (1.3) – career highs, all – makes up for any lost value. Anthony has the size and strength to dominate most opposing threes in the post-up game, or use his shooting touch to face-up and can mid-range jumpers. It will be interesting to see if he logs many minutes at power forward – his position on the “Redeem Team” – this year. With Camby gone, Denver will be relying heavily on injury-prone players Kenyon Martin and Nene for big minutes in the frontcourt. Melo at the four could present a matchup nightmare.
Anthony’s 2006-07 was a tale of three seasons. There was the first third, when he was dominating. Then there was the melee at Madison Square Garden and the ensuing suspension. By the time he got back into the lineup, there was the struggle to mesh with new arrival Allen Iverson. With all that going on, it’s very hard to put a value on Anthony’s overall performance. Here’s what we do know: before the fight, he was topping 30 per game and seemed to be on his way to a scoring title. After the Iverson trade, his scoring average actually dropped a few points; the fact that he set a new career-high of 28.9 ppg is a testament to how well he was playing before that. Anthony will get drafted in an early round, on the strength of his name and his excellent performance in the FIBA Americas tournament – just make sure it’s not too early, as there are lots of comparable options at forward.
For the first two years of his career, Anthony showed he could score, but his poor shot selection kept him from being one of the league’s top scorers. Last year, that changed, as Anthony increased his scoring average from 20.8 to 26.5 ppg and did so while making 48.1% of his shots (43.1% in 2005). He also chipped in 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and made 80.8% of his free throws (averaged 8.9 FT attempts a game). If his stellar play in the World Championships is any indication, Anthony is ready to become the leader of the Nuggets. With no true scorers around him in Denver, he’ll be forced to carry the scoring load for the Nuggets and looks ready for a breakout season.
Rumors have abounded over the summer that Anthony might get a shot at the SG position and that Karl was considering making him more of a “point” forward. If those rumors are true and Anthony gets the chance to handle the ball more it could end up making him more of a all-around fantasy threat and could push up his fantasy value considerably by virtue of the extra touches and the fact that he'd qualify as a G/F. As for now, however, he remains the Nugget's starting SF with a lot of good rebounders and assist guys already supplanted around him. Until his role changes he’s an adequate fantasy back-up at SF who will give you a lot of points (20-23), average rebounds (5-7), a few assists (2-4), a low FG%, a high FT%, minimal 3’s, and lots of style points almost every night he suits up.
Anthony definitely impressed many with his ability to adjust to the NBA game at such a young age last year but he's still very raw and needs to do some growing up. Anthony has a seemingly unlimited ceiling, but new more potent additions to the Nuggets offensive arsenal, playing in the Olympics, and a possible mini-sophmore slump may prevent him from building on last years amazing stat line. Anthony has to prove that he's willing to listen to coach Jeff Bzdelik and play within the Nuggets system. If he does his scoring average should remain around 20 ppg this season. The presence of Kenyon Martin will probably cut into his rebound totals but could help his assist totals. The bottom line is Anthony is still young and has huge upside. We'd be careful about expecting a better season than last and drafting him early, but if you're in a keeper league it will probably be worth it.
Despite his age Anthony will step right in and be one of the more productive small forwards in the NBA from day 1. He's big, quick, a solid ball handler, smart around the glass, and he can shoot. There's a chance he'll also see some time at SG and possibly PF if coach Bzdelik sees fit to try him out there. Very conservative estimates would be 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists a game in 30 minutes, but we're betting on more like 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals a night in 35+ minutes from the Nuggets new franchise player. P.S. - Don't be surprised if the ROY trophy is sitting in his study at years end instead of LeBron's!
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