Carmelo Anthony’s reputation as one of the NBA’s best scorers is well established.
Even in a down season in which Anthony may sit out the second half of the year because of knee trouble, he’s still averaging 24 points per game on 44% shooting, 34% from three.
Earlier this season, Paul Pierce described why Anthony is so tough to defend, naming Anthony’s array of offensive moves, from posting up, shooting, and driving to the rim.
In preparation for the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Shabazz Muhammad answered who’s the toughest player to guard.
“I’d say probably Carmelo because he’s always trying to score the ball. That’s something, especially for a guy like me who likes to score the ball, it’s hard to play defence on a really talented guy, too.”
Muhammad acknowledged that having to exert that energy on both sides of the floor is exhausting, but it’s part of the process of becoming a two-way player.
Muhammad’s comments echo Pierce’s feelings, too. Pierce noted on Anthony, “You can’t take one second off when you’re matched up against him.”
For players like Muhammad or Pierce whose primary duties are to score, being matched up with one of the best scorers in the NBA is a difficult task. While there are a number of players who play both ends of the court at elite levels, teams will sometimes intentionally match their best scorers against weak offensive players to preserve their energy. Conversely, great defenders who guard the other team’s best scorers usually have a decreased role in the offence to preserve their energy.
Anthony’s ability to make defenders work hard every possession is just one giant matchup problem he creates for opponents.
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