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Carmelo Anthony And Advanced Statistics

When Nate Silver pens an article on something, you better listen.

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If you haven't heard of Silver, he used to work for Baseball Prospectus, where he helped design PECOTA, and took his talents to the political field, where he handicaps races under the banner of 538.com, which was recently picked up by the New York Times. However, from time to time, he does weigh in on sports. One of those times happened to be near the end of last week, where he authored a piece on Rockets target Carmelo Anthony and why what he does is a bit underappreciated by the analytics field. 

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I know some Rockets fans are a bit on the fence over the idea of building a team around Anthony, both due to his lack of overall success in Denver and the feeling that he's sort of a second banana star in comparison to players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. According to Silver, the overlooked part of Anthony's game is how the actual attention on Anthony improves the True Shooting percentage of most of his teammates over time.

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I do think there's a lot to what Silver says, and I know this isn't a campaign for Anthony as a pure basketball player, but as an offensive player. Still, Anthony has never exactly been known for his defense, and the fact that he doesn't have the same kind of overall game that someone like James does could mean that he ages much more quickly. Anthony is only 26, which doesn't sound that old, but this is already his eighth year in the NBA. Compare that to Tracy McGrady, who was 25 when the Rockets acquired him and brought right around the same skill set to the table. Anthony has been more durable than McGrady, but he's older and has started to lose about 10 games a season to injury as well. 

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Obviously, should the Rockets pull off the upset and actually acquire Anthony, it will be an immense coup in the short-term. Especially if the reason it comes about is due to the extra cap savings they can send Denver and not much goes to the Nuggets in actual talent. But there are a lot of long-term considerations that might make this look like a better move than it actually is. 

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.