INSIDER : Who's Better: Melo or Blake?

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FightOnRon
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A game-changing forward is an essential part of success in today's NBA. Be they perimeter-oriented shooters, athletic slashers or back-to-the-basket types, the forwards whom teams are building around come from every mold. Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin are two of the NBA's most dynamic forwards for very different reasons. Anthony is the sweet-shooting flamethrower who's a threat to put 40 in the books on any given night. Griffin is the raw bundle of athleticism who combines a high-wire act with a smashmouth ground game. It's a contrast of styles if there ever was one.

Anthony and Griffin are the keys to their team's championship hopes, but who's better?

Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks

PPG: 28.3

RPG: 6.5

APG: 2.6FG%: 44.7

3FG%: 37.9

PER: 24.01

Blake Griffin

Los Angeles Clippers

PPG: 18.1

RPG: 8.4

APG: 3.6FG%: 54.0

3FG%: 17.4

PER: 22.78

SHOOTING :::::::::::::::::::::

ANTHONY: HIGH POSSESSIONS

There are few better than Anthony at creating space on the perimeter from the triple threat position to get off the midrange jump shot. His size, first step and quick release make him a constant threat when facing up from 15-25 feet. But his best weapon is his jab step -- a hard stab or a gentle rocker -- which almost always gets defenders to bite. Anthony leads the NBA in points per 100 possessions with 38.3, but his 21.8 shots per game are also tops. For all of Melo's shooting ability, he shoots above 45 percent or better from just three of the 14 areas on the floor broken down by NBA.com. His most effective zone is the short corner right baseline (52.1 percent), where he drops in turnarounds or quick pull-ups. However, Melo only holds a microscopic edge over Griffin in points per possession: 1.012 to 1.004

GRIFFIN: STICK WITH POWER

It's become all the rage for power forwards to hoist midrange jumpers one after the other. Griffin has gone through his own experimental feel-out phase, with mixed results. His love for the jumper enhanced his versatility somewhat but took him out of his power game. While Griffin's outside shot has shown improvement, it's still not consistent enough (37.1 percent from 16-23 feet) to force defenders to honestly contest. On turnarounds he unnecessarily drifts several feet back, turning a routine shot into one with a high degree of difficulty. As one scout said, Griffin has solid mechanics but he needs to be more selective.

Advantage, Carmelo

ANTHONY: LACKS EXPLOSION

Melo's key weapons are his strength and quickness, which he uses primarily inside the paint. He can bang with bigger players on the glass and prefers to outhustle for rebounds rather than plant himself for position. But much more useful is the quickness of his second jump, which, when combined with his strength, makes him a threat to tap in offensive rebounds. But Anthony too often doesn't get quality lift on his drives and fails to finish. He's converting a subpar 51.8 percent of his looks at the rim, which essentially wastes his athletic gifts. What's more, just two forwards are rejected more than Anthony, who's seen his shot returned 68 times.

GRIFFIN: ALL EXPLOSION

Griffin is one of the best athletes in the NBA. Everything begins with his explosive leaping ability, which has allowed him to author some of the NBA's most memorable highlights of the past several years. Griffin's 572 dunks are the most in the NBA since his rookie season in 2010-11. While his vertical game gets most of the credit, Griffin might be the league's fastest power forward from end-to-end, routinely beating smaller players down the floor. In many cases the result is an alley-oop dunk (he's fourth with 55 this season). Griffin shoots a sizzling 82 percent in transition (tops among players with at least 75 fast-break attempts) to Anthony's paltry 48 percent (second-lowest of any starting small forward). He's always had quickness in small spaces but now employs more body control to get the most out of his low-post bursts. Despite missing his entire first season with a knee injury, Griffin has not missed a game in three years since.

Advantage,,Griffin

DEFENSE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

ANTHONY: LAX EFFORT?

Anthony has long been maligned for his defense and it's a storyline that continues to this day. One thing that has changed is the question of his overall defensive capability. It's clear Anthony has the tools. He's got the size and strength to body up slashers and the length and foot speed to help rotate and recover. His footwork while playing position defense can be very sharp, and when engaged, Anthony is as vocal as they come. But his effort still lacks consistency, which has kept Anthony from being recognized as a quality defender. "He still has to be pushed to exert himself defensively," says an Eastern Conference scout. "At his level it should be second nature."

GRIFFIN: GRIND THEM DOWN

Griffin's best attribute is using his considerable strength to lean on and grind down his man, preventing him from getting into an offensive rhythm by taking away position and clean looks at the basket. Griffin thrives in frustrating opponents into bad shots or mental mistakes. In recent weeks both Zach Randolph and Serge Ibaka drew techs by responding to Griffin's physicality. "He's physical and that's the way he likes it," says Randolph. "It's going to be a fight with him." Griffin has drawn 21 offensive fouls, ranking 32nd overall, while Anthony ranks just 146th. He's also rid himself of the habit of leaking out early in hopes of getting fast-break dunks in an improved overall commitment to defense.

ADVANTAGE,,,Griffin

ANTHONY: SMOOTH, FLUID

Anthony is widely regarded as one of the league's most talented pure scorers. His ultra-fluid mechanics on his pull-up jumper are nearly flawless and have been the centerpiece of his All-Star career. He also has developed a deft ability to fade away at the proper degree on his turnaround, which allows him to put significant arc on the ball. Though he prefers to pull straight up, he's gotten more comfortable with the step-back. Anthony's handle is far more usable in half-court isolation situations and primarily serves to put him in a better position to score. He rid himself of his Denver-era habit of dribbling away the shot clock on the perimeter in favor of a more triple-threat-oriented attack, which gets him to his pull-up quicker.

GRIFFIN: STILL IMPROVING

After developing some bad habits in his first couple of seasons, Griffin's basic fundamentals and skill development have climbed in the past 12 months. Nearly 75 percent of his possessions are post-ups, a drastic change from previous years. His footwork is still a bit choppy, but he's developed an effective one-handed turnaround on the right block that he often flips in off the glass. Result: his field goal percentage at the rim has increased every season, topping out at 75.9 percent this season. In pick-and-rolls, his 67 percent shooting (as the roll man) is tops in the league (minimum 100 attempts). He's added a live dribble face-up with a convincing head fake, followed by a between-the-legs left-to-right dribble he finishes with a right-to-left crossover for a jumper. It's a move he picked up by watching Chris Paul, that he uses almost exclusively on the right baseline.

Advantage,,,Push

And the Winner is:

BLAKE GRIFFIN

Anthony is on fire right now, but score one for the upstart.

It's easy to contrast Melo's smooth, awe-inspiring talent with Griffin's awkward, brutish game and assume Anthony is better. But hot streaks that lead to 40-point games alone won't get it done. The Knicks are just 9-6 in 2012-13 when Anthony scores 30 or more; the Clippers are 12-4 when Griffin notches 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Anthony's singular brilliance in putting the ball in the basket without doing much else smacks of a far too one-dimensional game and isn't nearly enough to best Griffin. Griffin's overall imprint on a game dwarfs Anthony's. Griffin outshines the Knicks forward in many categories that a young player shouldn't be able to challenge a six-time All-Star, such as plus/minus (17th overall to 52nd), and-one percentage (fifth to 95th), assists (eighth among forwards to 16th) and field goal percentage (54.0 overall to 44.7).

Up until last week, Griffin held a season-long advantage in PER, not to mention higher rebound and blocked shot averages while playing five fewer minutes per game. And had Griffin been more effective on defense or had a bigger impact on the boards, his margin of victory over Anthony would have been even larger.

Battlegun
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Interesting article. Being the better scorer doesn't mean your the better player. Blake is better in almost every aspect other than scoring.

clipperboy24
CTB MVP X1
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Cool article thanks posting

CapsNClips
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Blake's better, but I think Carmelo is one hell of a player and would be the ideal 3rd man on our team for a Dynasty. Not gonna happen but I can dream can't I?

Oh and who wrote the article?

seanrooks
Clipper All-Star
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I love Griffin and think Melo is a bit overrated, but at this point I don't think Griffin's better. Melo is legitimately the best player and scorer on that Knicks team and really carries them, even though they have some talent around him. Griffin couldn't carry the load Carmelo does and plays with Chris Paul. Griffin does do plenty of things better, but the scoring advantage Melo has over him is huge.

smittywerb
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I've always asked this question, is melo a superstar or is he just a very popular Allstar? Think about it.

Amnesty_David_Stern
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Neither player is terrific at defense at all, I wouldn't even say they are good either. Melo should be getting his 6-8 boards a game because he's athletic and like 6'8. Blake doesn't get the blocks but he steals the ball rather well and can rebound well, when motivated. Anthony isn't much of a ball hawk or a blocker.

Melo can't pass, or rather doesn't. Blake is exceptional at passing given his height and position he plays.

Who is better? I really can't say with 100% certainty. Melo the last couple years and the majority of his career is a prime time scorer in the NBA. Blake has an almost unlimited ceiling and he's still not there. Both play in the 2 major cities on the coasts of the NBA, where sports, movie stars, tv shows, entertainment of all sorts are more widespread than anywhere else in the nation.

I'd either call it a draw or give it to Melo. Melo is more established and he's not going to surprise you by adding anything to his repertoire at this stage in his career. Blake can do that as he's still got a couple of years before he really hits his prime.

Clippersfan86
CTB MVP Champion
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Griffin is a better passer, rebounder and defender. So we can all confidently say Blake is the more balanced and all around player. Either way though the 10 ppg scoring difference and the fact that Melo can carry the Knicks as the undisputed go to guy so often puts him on top. So while Blake isn't a worse player really, Melo is better due to the fact that he's more proven and can carry an offense.

bullterrierclipsfan1349
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chucking up shots like kobe doesnt make you better. melo scores, but what else? hes having a great season offensively, without a doubt, but idk if id take carmelo over griffin. he would be a great third star on this team though. lol

Clippersfan86
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Only maybe 5 players in the NBA can you give the ball and get 25+ every night and Melo is one of them. The value of that is HUGE. Blake and CP3 aren't there. You need that guy more come playoff time than an all around player who's a 2nd or 3rd option.

ekker3
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apples and oranges: its like asking who was better bernard king or abdul jabber.

carmelo and blake are such different players and fill such different roles

A7XDreamTheaterClipps
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Didn't read. Melo is obviously better but Blake's ceiling is much higher.

bullterrierclipsfan1349
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agreed. i just see carmelo as being one dimensional. hes very good at what he does, but hes very one dimensional

JoeClipplet
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OBBBVIOUSLY...

jk

CP3Heliflopter
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Its close but this season I would say Melo. He is having his best season ever I will give him his due. He is a tad overrated though and I say this as a Knicks fan.

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