Here’s the bottom line on Carmelo Anthony’s recent play. Using the measuring stick of points per shot, it is his worst four-game stretch of the postseason since the first four playoff games of his career.
Furthermore, when compared alongside other worst four-game stretches of contemporary solo superstars, it is near the bottom.
Following Sunday’s loss to Indiana in the Eastern Conference semifinals opener, the Knicks are 1-3 in their last four games, including 0-2 at home. Their only win saw them nearly squander a 26-point lead in a matter of minutes as they repeatedly force-fed Anthony (and, to be fair, J.R. Smith) in isolation situations.
In his last four games, Anthony has scored 106 points on 110 shots for a PPS of .964. To put that in context, Anthony’s PPS for his MVP-caliber regular season was 1.29. Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard tied for the league lead at 1.59.
Anthony has made just 2-of-22 3-pointers and handed out 10 assists during this stretch. And his PPS would be even worse if he wasn’t getting to the line with regularity, making 34-of-38 free throws.
The only time Anthony has been worse in the playoffs was when he still could not legally drink. It was as a 19-year-old rookie in 2004 when he needed 64 shots to score 60 points in the first four games vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves for a PPS of .938. He was 2-of-11 from the arc, 16-of-20 from the line and had 11 assists.
Compare Anthony’s recent stretch to Durant, whom 17 voters said was not as valuable a player this season. Ih his last four games without spectacular sidekick Russell Westbrook, Durant has a PPS of 1.55, making 37-of-43 free throws and 5-of-21 3-pointers with 25 assists. Better still, Oklahoma City is 2-2 in those games.
It is more than fair to compare Anthony to Durant right now. Neither has anyone approaching an All-Star playing alongside him. Both are far and away their team’s best offensive option. Heck, both have even been subjected to receiving the ball in the backcourt in order to attack.
It also is fair to compare Anthony to other solo acts of the millennium such as Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas and Allen Iverson. And Anthony compares very favorably – when the barometer is Hero Ball rather than postseason success.
Take a look at the chart after the jump, which details each player’s worst four-game stretches, plus Anthony’s recent stretch. To level the playing field, Bryant was not considered when alongside Shaquille O’Neal or Pau Gasol; James was not considered when alongside Dwyane Wade; and Anthony was not considered when alongside Iverson or Chauncey Billups.