(Boulder-CO) Reported yesterday was the final blow to all the hypothetical trade rumors swirling around Carmelo Anthony being shipped out of Denver. The Nuggets met with Anthony on Monday and the end result of that meeting was 'Melo will be in the Mile High for at least the 2008-09 campaign.
And rightfully so...
C'mon, let's think back to the extremely lean years before Carmelo was drafted third overall behind LeBron James and Darko Milistake. The Nuggets were a perennial basement dweller with no franchise face and since then have been a playoff team for each of the last five seasons he has played for Denver. Sure, could he play better defense and bang shoulders for a few more rebounds? Of course, but when you look back at the last five seasons, with all the miscues aside, Carmelo Anthony has put the Nuggets on the NBA map and did so in the first three years with very little consistent help. Now he has AI to run with, and things are on the up and up, but it is also time to take the diaper off of Carmelo and start holding him responsible for the areas of his game that are now past due in maturation. He's a six year vet now and the window of patience is shutting.
The time is now for Carmelo to take his game to the next level.
I'm happy the Nuggets have decided to keep 'Melo for at least the upcoming season. First and foremost because I didn't hear anything that was going to be a trade for equal value given Carmelo's youth and place within this franchise. Secondly, and more subjectively, is what I still believe Carmelo's game could evolve into. His three-point shooting is continually getting better and his rebounding is also slowly but surely improving.
However, the area of Carmelo's game that needs the most drastic and hasty advancement is still his defense. I don't know if it's because defense doesn't put numbers in the boxscore, but part of Anthony's maturation process needs to be the ability to look beyond the numbers game and make the decision to work just as hard on the defensive as he has on the offensive end of the floor. And thankfully for the Nuggets Nation, in the 2008-09 campaign Carmelo Anthony will hopefully be doing so in a Denver uniform.