After being ranked as the 31st overall player by ESPN’s “#NBArank” last year, the internet went crazy when Melo plummeted all the way down the the 64th spot on this year’s list.
Melo even took to Twitter to call out ESPN for the blatant disrespect, as he was even listed one spot below rookie Lonzo Ball. Melo's ranking was especially odd since ESPN offered the following analysis for the decision:
"Entering his 15th season, Anthony's days as a top-50 player might be finished as he comes in 33 spots below last season's ranking. His drop is tied for the largest by anyone that finished in the top 35 a season ago. The only players in NBA history to average at least 20 points per game in each of their first 15 seasons are Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a club Anthony could join in 2017-18."
As you can see, there was no basis given for the insane drop. Still recognized as one of the NBA’s top offensive players, Anthony averaged 22.4 points and 5.9 rebounds for the New York Knicks last season over 74 games played.
Among the players that rushed to his defense was Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green, who has never been shy to voice his opinion.
“I think when you look at Melo, Melo has been a great player in this league for some time now. 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],” Green told Chris Haynes of ESPN in a recent interview.
He continued his defense saying, “I’m a firm believer in guys earning what they get, and I know he's earned more than a 64. 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 think it's clear disrespect.”
To sum up his position, Green said “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.”
In case you were wondering, Draymond checked in at No. 10 on ESPN’s list for the upcoming season.