Carmelo Anthony’s NBA career seems to pass him by every season. Prior to this one, he was the only player from the 2003 NBA Draft to never win a championship. In fact, he has only ever been on a championship team once, his first year in the league. That was with the Denver Nuggets, who won the league title in the 2005-2006 season. After that, Anthony has gone through the usual ups and downs of an NBA career, including time with the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder, where he was eventually traded.
The 2003 NBA draft was one of the most unbalanced in history, since it featured three No. 1 picks before the first one was ever chosen. The first overall pick, Carmelo Anthony, was widely regarded as a surefire NBA superstar and the best player in the draft, but his career was marred by injuries and he hasn’t been a true star since he left Denver in 2011.
Carmelo Anthony has spent his entire eleven-year career as a member of the Denver Nuggets. He has led them to two seasons with 50 wins (2007, 2009) but never been able to win a championship. In the past, Carmelo has made his case for earning a rotation spot as a player with a historical resume and many achievements. The Nuggets should be in the discussion for a title, but title contention is up in the air with the departure of J.R. Smith.
The NBA draft class of 2003 will go down in history as one of the best ever. It may lack the overall depth of the 1996 class, which included three NBA MVP winners (Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash) and perhaps the greatest shooter in NBA history (Ray Allen), but it is unquestionably one of the finest top-heavy groups we’ve ever seen. LeBron James, of course, was selected with the first overall selection, followed by Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
Milicic, on the other hand, didn’t quite pan out and will be the only player selected in the top five who will not be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He does, however, possess something Carmelo does not: an NBA championship ring. Darko was the first to win one, while Anthony, despite being one of the league’s all-time leading scorers, is the only member of the top five who has yet to win a championship. Melo, on the other hand, does not seem to be ready to give up the dream just yet, and his greatest shot at a ring may come in 2021-22.
Carmelo Anthony has the tenth-highest point total in NBA history.
Carmelo Anthony during a March 2021 game against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Sacramento Kings | Alika Jenner/Getty Images
Anthony has 27,370 regular-season points in 18 NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and Portland Trail Blazers, putting him in 10th place on the league’s all-time scoring record.
Carmelo Anthony and Karl Malone are the only players in the top ten scorers who have never won an NBA championship. The other eight (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and Moses Malone) have a total of 29 NBA championships between them. Anthony is the only player in the top ten who has never won the NBA MVP award. The other nine players won the award a total of 27 times.
Anthony, on the other hand, is the only player in men’s USA basketball history to participate in four Olympics and win three gold medals. If the United States wins gold in Tokyo, Kevin Durant may equal that total.
Anthony is the only player selected in the top five in the 2003 NBA Draft who has never won a championship.
Carmelo Anthony is not only one of two top-10 all-time scorers who has never won an NBA championship, but he is also the only player selected in the top five of the 2003 NBA draft who has never won a ring.
Milicic, who was selected one place ahead of Anthony by Detroit in 2003, was the first to win a ring as a rookie with the Pistons, despite not being a major player. Darko scored 0.1 points in the playoffs after averaging only 1.4 points in 34 regular-season games, and he didn’t score a single point in the NBA Finals. But isn’t a ring just a ring?
Wade was the next to win one, leading the Miami Heat to victory in the 2006 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks with an amazing effort. Over the course of the six-game series, D-Wade averaged 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.7 steals, and one block, comfortably winning NBA Finals MVP.
And, of course, in 2012 and 2013, LeBron and Bosh won back-to-back championships in Miami with Wade. James went on to win his third and fourth rings with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. Anthony’s only appearance in the NBA Finals occurred in 2009, when he led the Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals, where they were defeated by Kobe Bryant’s Lakers in six games.
Carmelo Anthony may have his greatest chance at a championship with the Lakers in 2021-22, when he teams up with LeBron James.
Carmelo Anthony is now an unrestricted free agent after spending the previous two seasons with the Blazers, and it seems doubtful that he would return to Portland for a third season. That means he’ll be searching for a new team for the 2021-22 season, and the Lakers seem to be the most likely option.
Yes, we are well aware that every major name available in trades or free agency has been connected to the Lakers, but unlike some of the other rumors that have circulated in recent weeks, this move might really happen. Los Angeles will be short on cash, so many roster slots will be filled by veterans ready to sign for the league minimum. Anthony didn’t mind playing for the minimum in Portland, and he’d certainly do the same for the Lakers, particularly because this would be his greatest shot at a championship with LeBron and Anthony Davis.
According to recent reports, the two sides “have a high degree of interest in one other,” and Carmelo’s lengthy relationship with LeBron certainly helps. Last season, the Lakers were lacking scoring from the bench, and Anthony could fill that gap. He may be 37 years old, but he averaged 13.4 points per game off the bench for the Blazers last season and shot 40.9 percent from outside the arc.
The Western Conference will be much harder than it was last year, so LA isn’t a shoo-in for the NBA Finals. However, once the season begins, both LeBron and AD should be back at full health, and there’s always the possibility that another major component will be acquired. Even if they don’t acquire that component, signing Carmelo Anthony is a no-brainer, as it offers Anthony one more chance to join the other four players selected in the top five of the 2003 draft as NBA champions.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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Carmelo Anthony was the seventh overall pick by the Denver Nuggets in the 2003 NBA Draft, and he’s been a significant part of the most successful Nuggets team in franchise history. He’s the only top-five pick from that draft that has yet to win a championship, and at least one of the players that were selected ahead of him has.. Read more about 2003 nba draft suits and let us know what you think.
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