When ESPN released its recent rankings of NBA players, many were shocked to see New York Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony all the way down at No. 64 - one spot behind rookie Lonzo Ball.
In fact, even Melo himself was upset at the disrespect, as he feels he's still way better than the 64th-best player in the league.
Now, friend and Team USA teammate Draymond Green has come to Melo's defense, offering up his reasoning for why Melo was rated so low.
In an interview with ESPN.com, the Golden State Warriors forward/center said Anthony has been in the league for a long time, so perhaps he was overlooked in the rankings this year:
"I think when you look at Melo, Melo has been a great player in this league for some time now," he said. "Obviously, I think no one thinks that he's the Melo he was five years ago, and that happens to everyone. That's just the nature of the career that we've all chosen. At some point, you start to slow down and you're not who you once were. So, I'm not going to sit here and lie and act like he is the Melo he was five years ago, but the 64th-best player in the NBA? All right, five years ago he was maybe sixth. He ain't f---ing 64 [now]."
Indeed, Melo may not be as good as he was five years ago, but he still averaged 22.4 points per game last season.
Green, like many others, was also upset to see a rookie rated ahead of Melo, as Ball has yet to prove anything at the NBA level:
"I'm a firm believer in guys earning what they get, and I know he's earned more than a 64," he said. "And when you see rookies coming in who haven't played a game, that's just clear-cut disrespect. You've got guys who have given everything they had into this game and has proved s--- year in and year out and then people just walk in and are ranked higher than someone? Let them get out there and prove something first. I'm a firm believer in that. Maybe I'm that way because I've never been given anything. Everything I've gotten in this league I've worked for and earned. So maybe I see it a little differently. That will never change for me. I can't put you above guys who have done this year in and year out with the best of them and say you're better. That's just not me. I think it's clear disrespect.
"And like I said to start it off, I know Melo isn't the Melo he was five or seven years ago, but he's for damn sure not the 64th-best player in the league. I know that. There aren't 63 players better than Carmelo Anthony."
Now that Melo has the motivation that comes from being disrespected in the rankings, it'll be interesting to see how he kicks off his 2017-18 campaign. If he turns in another outstanding season, he won't be overlooked in next year's rankings.