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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: The Carmelo And Wade Moves

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The NBA will look very different when the season begins. Carmelo Anthony will be on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dwyane Wade will be on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Perhaps two years ago, this would have been bigger news to me. Four years ago, this would have meant a lot more to me to see Melo, fresh off of his best seasons in New York going to play with a Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and the teaming up of Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James would likely equal a OKC vs Cleveland NBA Finals. However, we live in 2017, and the evolution of basketball exists in Oakland. Still, both of the moves aren't bad, and in a way, they both help each team get a little bit better. Now, when I say a little bit better, you might be confused. Wade is a top 5 shooting guard of all time, certainly his presence in Cleveland makes a huge difference right?

Not so much. The issue with the Wade signing is very simple honestly. His time has passed, and he still wants to contribute to a contender and win. That's great that he's excited to play and contribute, but after letting it be known that he wasn't going to ring chase a year ago, he changes his tune one season later. Be that as it may, Wade would be very solid for a young upstart team with potential that needs a veteran leader to help push them over the hump. A team like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat, the Denver Nuggets, or even the Milwaukee Bucks. He doesn't seem well suited for a team of veterans and egos, or as the secondary sidekick to LeBron again, but he made his decision of course to try and compete for the title again. Now, why doesn't Wade work for the Cavs at this moment? Let's take a look.

It's very simple. J.R. Smith should be the starting 2 guard for the Cavs, as he provides decent defense and solid shooting throughout the games and is younger than Wade. Wade wants to start and will likely play around 28-31 minutes a game if so, but the issue is that he's not the same player he used to be. Wade is going out of his way to show up people who called him washed up and say that he needs to take a bench role. He does. However, his stats may fool you, as his numbers were decent, but take into consideration that he was on a Bulls team that literally had no other options. Wade was adamant to say that he was the 2nd option to Jimmy Butler, but we saw his ego rub players the wrong way halfway through the season. The Cavs are all smiles now, but it's a long season. Kyrie and LeBron seemed to be the best tandem together at the start of last season as well, and we saw how that turned out. Wade and his ego could show up during the struggle for more playing time by bench players who were used to starter minutes and known franchise problem starters in Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas. Wade is a wild card to the Cavs and while he could provide a decent scoring option, he isn't a good shooter and his defense has been on the decline more and more for the last 5 years. Will Wade be an impact player for the Cavs? I doubt it, but only time will tell.

As far as Carmelo, I think he helps the Thunder. Not by much, but he does help offensively. Last season, Russell Westbrook averaged over 10 assists passing to Oladipo, Kanter, and Steven Adams, but this season, he will be passing to Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. That's a very dangerous lineup and a scary thought for most average defenses and teams..... well a scary thought offensively at least. Melo is starting at the 4, a position he did well at previously before, but I'm not so sure how effective this will be in the long run. Melo is a good scorer, and while I think he blends in decent with the offense, defensively Melo doesn't give enough effort and he's never been an elite defender or even a really solid defender minus a few moments in Denver. Still, maybe he's rejuvenated now in OKC, but another big concern has to be his age and health. Melo has been injury prone for small periods of time during the seasons and is in his 15th season. He won't be expected to produce as much as he was in previous seasons, but what does he have left to offer? I think Melo will have a solid season and being in a winning culture will definitely be a revitalizing feeling for Melo I'm sure. Does this move do enough for the Thunder to overtake the Warriors? Not at all, but it is possible they have a closer chance to reach the Conference Finals, which would have to be considered a successful season for them.

In closing, neither move makes their respective teams any closer to a championship, but it does make them better. Wade doesn't have too much left in the tank, but he will be motivated again, and if he stays healthy, he could provide quality minutes in small spurts. Carmelo will have a bigger role and will showcase more of his ability for the Thunder, and him returning to the playoffs is a welcome sight for all fans. The moral of this story however, the Wade and Melo moves will make the NBA season more interesting and fun to watch, but the NBA Championship will likely come back once again to Oakland, as long as they stay healthy of course. Still, Wade and Bron reunited, Melo playing with PG and Russ, and these narratives will make the season even more intriguing.



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