(photo courtesy scott mecum)
No player in the NBA has been as talked about this season than Carmelo Anthony. And 99% of the dialogue has been positive - Melo has matured, he's a leader, he's less selfish, he's a legit MVP candidate. But is this all true - is Melo a new man? The wonderful Wages of Wins dispelled most of this as myth - Melo isn't less selfish - he's actually passing less than ever, and he hasn't greatly improved in any aspect of the game. Except for one - his three-point accuracy.
Melo is taking a career-high 6.6 three's per game and, more importantly, is hitting them at an insane 42% clip. This is a full 4% higher than his career best rate previously, and a full 10% (!!) higher than his average over his career. Players, like people, generally don't change rapidly. And with Anthony in his 12th NBA season already, the chances that he's out of the blue become a three-point marksman are pretty slim. After this long in the league, we pretty much know what kind of player Anthony is and will continue to be. Can players become better shooters over time? Absolutely. But Melo has shown no progress in that regard over his career - there's been no gradual improvement in his long-range shooting (he shot 34% from deep last season) - he just all of the sudden is a crack shot this year.
This is surely unsustainable. And Anthony has shown so on the court - his three-point accuracy has decreased month-by-month so far (even taking his 9-12 shooting in his last game into account):
November: 44% for the month
December: 43% for the month
January: 40% for the month
Gradually Anthony will continue to creep closer to his 32% career average. And with it a Knicks team that lives and dies by the long bomb will gradually drop in the standings and Melo will gradually creep out of the MVP discussion. Eventually the other size 15 Jordan Brand Melo M9 will drop.