After all the “why hasn’t Team USA asked Carmelo Anthony to play” talk, we find out that it was the other way around. Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports reports that Anthony asked USA Basketball about being extended an invite and he was told ‘no’.
That might not be a surprise to some because you can argue either way. The shock come from Jerry Colangelo’s reason for not extending an invite to Anthony. According to Roscher’s article, Colangelo said “He was a very good international player. But for where we are and what we’re doing, that conceivably could have been a distraction.”
That’s where this gets weird. Anthony has never been known as a player who has been a problem. He isn’t Dennis Rodman. People might not like his style of play but how can you be upset with it? He’s been a quality International player.
Anthony was a 12 point-5 rebound player in the 2016 Olympics. He won three gold medals (2008, 2012, & 2016). Though he didn’t score in double-digits in the medal rounds, he did score 10 points or more in four of the five Group games.
The current USA roster hasn’t been finalized but lets be honest, it isn’t an overwhelming roster.
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets)
Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls)
Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)
Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets)
Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)
If anything, Anthony could provide International basketball experience. Say what you will but in International play, Anthony could still get buckets. Looking at the roster, it buckets could be something this team needs.
But I can see where Colangelo is coming from, other than the reason. When Colangelo took over USA Basketball, he wanted to make it into a true national program. Colangelo was correct in saying USA Basketball was broken and he deserves a lot of credit for fixing it.
The team isn’t the place to be rewarded for a great career or a way to re-establish your career. It can be argued that Anthony falls into that category. It’s a legitimate question to ask if Anthony was still in the NBA, would he have asked to be on the team?
If anyone would’ve been a distraction it’s Zion Williamson. Williamson was the biggest college basketball star in a generation. He was also overweight and hasn’t played a second in the NBA. It looked like a favor to Mike Krzyzewski.
This is why Colangelo comes off as disingenuous.
If USA Basketball comes up short in the World Cup, it could be Colangelo who proved to be the distraction.