Who is Better? Carmelo Anthony vs. Blake Griffin

The NBA is a league of superstars. With that being said, not all superstars are created equal. Some win MVP awards and lead their franchises to championship glory, while others just seem to be missing something. Be it heart, work ethic or an undefined X-factor or je ne sais quois, there is something that acts a barrier between a LeBron James or a Kevin Durant and players like Carmelo Anthony or Blake Griffin.

Anthony is one of the most skilled offensive players of the last decade. Meanwhile, Griffin is perhaps the most impressive physical athlete in the NBA and has improved his skill set every year that he has been in the league. Nonetheless, neither has been able to put their teams in a position to contend for a world championship.

Whether or not this ever changes remains to be seen, but their respective career paths do pose an interesting question for basketball aficionados–if you’re tasked with building a roster for your own expansion team in the NBA and must choose one or the other as the cornerstone for your team, who are you taking?

Blake Griffin or Carmelo Anthony?

Using unscientific research, stream of consciousness debate and “gut feelings,” that is the very question we intend to answer here today!

The Tale of the Tape (Measurables)

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony currently checks in at six-foot-eight, 230 pounds. He’s big enough to play the power forward and has a back-to-the-basket game on par with some of the great four-men to play the game, but is lean and quick enough to play as a small forward.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is a stone-cold four at six-foot-ten and more than 250 pounds. He can also slide up to the center spot in small lineups and will do so from time to time, but there’s no mistaking Griffin’s spot in the Clips starting lineup.

ADVANTAGE GRIFFIN: You could paint the picture that Anthony’s size makes him versatile, but to me it makes him a tweener. His low-post game hearkens back to the power forwards of yore and his shooting ability is such that he could play the role of a modern stretch big, but he’s not big enough to guard the spot on a nightly basis and isn’t quite quick enough to defend wing players.

Both have had defensive issues in their careers, but Griffin gets the nod with his superior size, athleticism and defined position.

https://twitter.com/ultrafinesse/status/605872002402877441

Statistics

Anthony is in the NBA’s top five in scoring on a near-annual basis and actually led the league in 2013 at just under 29 points per contest. For his career, he averages 25.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He’s also evolved into a capable three-point shooter, connecting on over 40 percent of long range attempts in 2013-14.

Griffin has morphed from being Chris Paul’s wing man to a bona fide MVP candidate in Los Angeles. This past season, he averaged 22 points, nearly eight rebounds and better than five assists per game. While his scoring is down and his rebounding numbers hit a career-low, his 5.3 assists per game are far better than anything Anthony has ever done and represent an evolution in his game.

ADVANTAGE ANTHONY: This is actually a lot closer than most would think. Griffin will probably always struggle to approach Anthony’s scoring numbers while playing in the Clippers offense, but the incremental improvements that have come throughout his career may make him the better all-around player in the statistical sense when all is said and done. For now though, Anthony holds the edge.

Individual and Team Success

While both players show well in these deparments, each has fared better at receiving individual accolades than pushing their respective teams toward an NBA title. Anthony is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, an eight-time All-Star, was twice named to the All-NBA Second Team and was selected to the Third Team on four occasions.

Griffin has been selected to five All-Star games in his five seasons, is a three-time All-NBA Second Team player and was also selected to the All-NBA Third Team this past season. He also won the Slam Dunk contest by throwing down over a Kia.

Where these two fall short is in their teams’ playoff success. Anthony was able to take the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals, but things quickly went awry afterword. He’s yet to recapture the same level of success with the Knicks. Griffin has helped make his squad a playoff mainstay, but the Clippers seem to leave fans wanting more at the end of every season.

ADVANTAGE ANTHONY: It makes me feel dirty inside to say this, but Griffin doesn’t quite have the resume that Carmelo does at this point. That may no longer be the case two or three years from now, but as it stands today…I side with Anthony. Nonetheless, both players leave something to be desired when it comes to postseason success.

And the Winner IS…

Carmelo Anthony, with a giant asterisk. As it stands, the two aren’t far apart in my eyes. Anthony has been in the NBA longer and although the Knicks are the picture of ineptitude currently, his Nuggets teams were considered legit championship contenders for a time. Griffin and the Clips have been perpetually disappointing. The statistical edge also goes to Anthony due to his scoring prowess, but mark my words–Griffin is becoming a better all-around player.

Pose this question to me again in five years and I’m willing to bet it comes out a different way in a landslide. Until then, the Knicks star wins the day.

Leave a Comment

New Users Get $10 Off‌‌‌‌Shop Now
+
Share This