Two years in, who wins Melo trade?
March, 13, 2013
By Sunny Saini, ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony has played just as well for the Knicks as he did for the Nuggets
Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver
On Wednesday night, Carmelo Anthony makes his first appearance in Denver since being traded to the New York Knicks in a three-team, 13-player blockbuster on February 21, 2011. Anthony is third on the Denver Nuggets all-time scoring list with 13,970 points and is top-10 in a plethora of other categories for the Nuggets.
The Nuggets have visited Madison Square Garden twice since the trade and have split with the Knicks with Anthony averaging 29.5 points on 37 percent shooting.
Impact of the trade
Including the playoffs, the Nuggets have won 14 more games than the Knicks since Anthony’s departure. However, neither team has advanced past the first round in their conference.
Both teams have improved overall since making the trade. Each have been playoff teams and are playing their best basketball this season since the trade.
Diving deeper into the advanced stats, on a per possession basis, both teams have played similarly efficient defense since the trade, each ranking in the middle third of the league.
On offense, each team has ranked in the top third of the NBA, but the Nuggets have been better; their effective field goal percentage (which accounts for the added value of a 3-pointer) beats New York’s 51.9 to 50.1.
Despite similar efficiencies, the two offenses couldn’t be more disparate. The Nuggets lead the NBA in points per game in the paint (57.7) and on the fast break (19.8). The Knicks on the other hand, score an NBA-low 33.5 points per game in the paint and just 8.9 per game on the fast break, second-fewest in the league.
The Nuggets thrive by moving the ball and have averaged an NBA-best 24.2 assists per game since the trade. With 20.0 assists per game, the Knicks have ranked in the bottom five in the league, favoring a more isolation-heavy offense.
Same old Melo
Despite having one his best scoring seasons in years, Anthony has essentially been the same player in New York as he was in Denver in terms of efficiency and usage percentage overall.
Not so dynamic duo
One of the biggest reasons Anthony wanted to come to New York was to play with Amar’e Stoudemire. They have only been able to play 97 of the Knicks 167 games together including the playoffs. Their record when playing together is 46-51.
Nuggets trending up
The glaring difference between the two franchises is age. The Knicks are the oldest team in the NBA with an average age of 32.4 while the Nuggets are the fourth youngest team in the NBA at 25.3 years.
The two teams have been going in opposite directions since the New Year. The Nuggets have the second best record in the NBA at 26-7 while the Knicks have gone 17-14. The Nuggets are 19-2 at home and the Knicks are 7-6 on the road.
William Cohen contributed to this article.