In the NBA, terms are being thrown around constantly. When it comes to the term “unguardable,” the first two names that may come to mind are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, but in fact, these players are guardable; it’s just up to the defender to know how to stop them.
With LeBron, his game relies on attacking the rim and going to the foul line. He has a decent jump shot and is an excellent passer, but when he’s not getting fouled, he goes into panic mode and starts chucking up unnecessary threes.
As for Kobe, he’s not the unstoppable player he once was, which was evident during the ’09-10 season. He’s become less dangerous at the rim — according to 82games.com, Kobe made 58% of his inside shots last season, compared to 65% the previous year — which means shot-blockers can challenge with more success. One way to slow him down offensively is to limit Kobe’s post-up opportunities and have him settle for the outside shot.
With the ways of (somewhat) stopping ‘Bron and Kobe established, there is only one NBA player who is close to being truly unguardable. His name is Carmelo Anthony.
Many believe that ‘Melo is a one-dimensional player, but that’s far from the truth. ‘Melo has a variety of offensive moves in his arsenal against any defender that dares to challenge. When it comes to playing against bigger defenders, ‘Melo likes to use his patented jab step in order to create space for his smooth jump shot. He’s already established himself as the best offensive player in the NBA, and his jump shot is nearly automatic. Smaller players don’t stand a chance against ‘Melo’s size and power on the block. His ability to post up is one of his most underrated traits. When it comes to drawing a foul, ‘Melo is one of the best in the League at making contact. He ranked fifth in free throw attempts last season with 8.9 per game behind the likes of Kevin Durant, LeBron, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade.
Another underrated trait of ‘Melo’s is his speed. He has a quick first step along with exceptional handles. Don’t forget about his spin move; the same one he put on ‘Bron last season that had him looking like a punch-drunk boxer with no recollection of what happened.
Argue all you want, but every NBA coach is sitting at their desks pulling their hair out and shooting paper wads into the trash with every attempt to try and figure out how to stop ‘Melo. He can do anything that ‘Bron does, except ‘Bron has the athleticism, while ‘Melo is better in the post. But for those who think ‘Melo can’t throw it down, just check for basketball stripes the next time you see Paul Millsap‘s face.
No matter what type of player you put against ‘Melo, he has the talent to exploit their weakness and use it to his advantage. For defenders it becomes a game of pick-your-poison.
Or they could always take ‘Melo’s approach: “If I had to guard me,” Anthony told ESPN one time, “I’d take the night off.”