New York Knicks: Can Carmelo Anthony Crack Top 10 On The Scoring List?

Feb 19, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Eastern Conference forward Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (7) in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Eastern Conference forward Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (7) in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

An in-depth analysis of Carmelo Anthony’s path to becoming a Top 10 all-time scorer. How likely is it that the New York Knicks star will crack the Top 10?

A lot can be said about Carmelo Anthony. He doesn’t try on defense. He never reached his potential as a willing passer. According to some disrespectful former coaches, he isn’t a great teammate or person.

With all this drama constantly hanging around Anthony like a dark cloud, one thing is for sure: Carmelo. Anthony. Gets. Buckets.

Anthony is almost unmatched in his ability to impact the offensive side of the game in different ways. Post up. Face up. Spot up. He can handle any coverage the defense sends his way. Even at the ripe age of 32, ‘Melo is posting a solid 23.4 points a game.

All this talk got me thinking: where will Anthony land on the all time list? Top 20? Top 15? Well, lets look at the numbers.

He averages 24.8 points per game for his career, which is good for No. 13 all time. He has 23,805 total points so far for his career. That total has him sitting pretty at No. 25 on the all-time scoring list. But how is Anthony, such a great scorer, only at No. 25?

Let’s compare him to other scorers on this list. Vince Carter is at No. 23 and has 24,371 points in 1,374 games played. Anthony has played 958 games and counting.

That gives Carter 416 games on ‘Melo. For Anthony to tie Vince on the scoring list in the same amount of games, he would need to average 1.36 points per game in that 416-game span.

Based on his career average, it’s safe to say he can average 1.4 points per game.

In fact, Carter is 40 years old. One can only wonder where Anthony will be at 40 years old—whether he’s playing or not.

I’m not saying Anthony has five more seasons—a rounded down 416 games—of 20 points per game in him, but it shouldn’t be undermined that he’s one of the elite scorers in the history of this game. Comparing him to Carter isn’t fair though because Carter was a different type of player.

Let’s look at someone Anthony is always compared to: Dominique Wilkins.

The Human Highlight Film. Although not as versatile as ‘Melo, and way more athletic, their careers have shaped to be similar. Nique has 2,863 more points than Anthony in 116 more games. Simple math: Anthony needs about 24.6 points per game in his next 116 games to tie Wilkins at the same pace.

This is less than his career average of 24.8 points per game. Not too out of reach considering people didn’t expect Anthony to even average 20 this season.

While Wilkins only played 15 seasons in the NBA, Anthony is currently in his 14th and is playing like he has a lot left in the tank. So how does Wilkins have 116 more games played in just one more season played?

Simple: durability.

Wilkins averaged 71 games played per season for his career. So far, Anthony averages 68 games per season. Since the 2011-12 season, Anthony has been appearing in only 61 contests per season. So maybe we should equate this into our predictions.

As stated earlier, Anthony needs to average 24.6 points per game over his next 116 games to tie Wilkins in both points and games played. But how many seasons is 116 games for Anthony? If we factor in that he only plays 61 games a season, it’s almost two full seasons.

Anthony would have the same amount of points in the same amount of games as Wilkins, but a full season more.

If Anthony averaged the same 71 games a season as Wilkins, he would have 994 games played and 24,651 points by the end of the 2016-17 season. That number would have him at No. 22 all-time rather than 25th, right under Patrick Ewing.

Games played doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, but its a good stat to compare the pace at which Anthony gets buckets. He can easily tie or score more than Wilkins in the same number of games played. But why stop at No. 13 all time?

What would it realistically take for Anthony to replace Elvin Hayes as 10th on the all time scoring list? For starters, ‘Melo is currently 3,508 points away. At his current pace, it would take him a little over two seasons.

Having said that, Anthony is on the decline; it’s inevitable and a product of the fight against father time. So what’s the best possible scenario where ‘Melo can get into the Top 10 and you won’t seem like a lunatic explaining it to your friends?

For one, lets just keep the average of 60 games per season. Obviously, we can’t predict injuries, but ‘Melo’s jump shot oriented game helps him stay on the court.

Next, we have to predict his points per game.

This one is tough because Anthony averaged 21 per game last season and now averages 23.4. Yeah, I’m scratching my head too. He got better? We’ll just pretend this season is an anomaly for the sake of historical precedent.

I can place a safe bet that Anthony can put up 15 points game over the next couple of seasons. Again, just a safe bet; he will probably score more. So, with 15 points per game, 60 games per season, and 3,508 points in his way, Anthony would need four more seasons.

Four seasons of 15 points a game are in Anthony’s way.

This is a worst-case scenario. If he averages 18 points per game from now on, he’ll only need three seasons. With Anthony still averaging upwards of 20 points per game, maybe the Top 10 is too low of a target.

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So what can you tell your non-Knicks fan friends when they don’t think Carmelo Anthony will end his career in the Top 10? Just tell them to wait on it.