How Carmelo Anthony Potentially Joining Lakers Would Impact Betting Market (It Wouldn’t)
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James
- Matt Moore looks at how the Los Angeles Lakers betting odds would move if Carmelo Anthony joined LeBron James and Co. (Hint: They wouldn't.)
It’s been 230 days as of writing since Carmelo Anthony played in an NBA game. After his 2-point, 1-of-11 performance vs. the Thunder on November 8, Melo has not appeared in uniform on an NBA court. The Rockets very quietly ushered him out the door, and no team picked him up.
But don’t worry. Melo has friends in high places and there’s a good chance that he’ll be back on an NBA floor next season, and this time, likely pursuing a title with his very good friend, LeBron James.
Let’s get this out of the way at the top: things can always change, but most executives monitoring Anthony’s free agency see the Lakers as the most likely destination for the 10-time All Star.
There may have been interest from New York in a reunion with Anthony if they had a roster with multiple stars ready to win immediately. But with Durant injured and the odds against the Knicks building that kind of team this summer, bringing Anthony back is not currently part of the team’s thinking.
Here are the betting impacts of Melo possibly joining the Lakers: There are none. It should not move the lines whatsoever, in any way. I don’t want to say that Anthony is irrelevant at this point … so I will not say anything at all.
I will, however, note that the under on season win totals for teams that have employed Carmelo Anthony since his first full season in New York (2011-12) has gone 6-2.
The line won’t move even if the Lakers add Anthony. But if they fill out the roster with another max star and supporting components, then the number — which currently sits between 53.5 and 54.5 at available books — will likely go up slightly. And if they have a summer like last year with questionable veteran additions who can’t space the floor, the number could go down, if only slightly.
(You can also bank on the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook to offer a significantly more conservative number based on both their risk profile and sharper lines.)
Anthony would fill a role on the Lakers, for sure. He can be a third individual scorer, particularly with bench units. His fit next to Anthony Davis is questionable; both Davis and Melo frequent face-ups out of the mid-post, and the subsequent spacing would be difficult. Melo genuinely tried to be a spot-up weapon in Oklahoma City and Houston … he was just bad at it.
“Olympic Melo,” it seems, only really works when facing subpar teams in international competitions.
However, he’s a body and would likely still have nights when he gets them production. This is not insignificant: You need players who yield both impact and production. Impact is making teammates better, playing good defense, controlling pace and exerting control over the opponent. Production is the basic building blocks of points, rebounds and assists… OK, maybe not the assists in this case.
The defense, however, would be a concern. Even with Davis and what’s assumed to be a revived effort from James, Melo is a liability — and one opponents consistently hunt both on and off-ball.
But if Melo were to operate mostly with bench units, he could help the Lakers in certain ways. Just not enough to move value on the lines.