Carmelo Anthony — the newest member of the Portland Trail Blazers — won Western Conference Player of the Week for the final week of November. Though the competition was fierce, the veteran scorer took home the hardware, but not without controversy.
Carmelo Anthony Named Player of the Week over James Harden, Others
Western Conference Competition
Anthony averaged 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists over the course of a 3-0 span for the week. However, his performances seemed to pale in comparison to some other Western Conference stars.
James Harden, for example, averaged an astounding 46 points, 6 rebounds, and 9.5 assists in two games on the week. In a historic contest, he dropped 60 points on 66.7 percent shooting in just 31 minutes. He also added 8 assists along the way to a 158-111 victory.
Luka Doncic continued his hot streak through the week, averaging 31.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists over the course of two games. His 41-point, 10-assist outing in a win over the Houston Rockets was the highlight of the week for the Dallas Mavericks.
Though his stats were inferior, Anthony did have a specific advantage in the award race. His Trail Blazers played three games, while the Rockets and Mavericks both played two each. Historically, the award is reserved for players that played more than two games. It is not always the case but happens enough to almost be considered an unwritten rule.
A Great PR Move by the NBA
Many have called into question both the legitimacy of Anthony’s award as well as the importance of the award itself. Lost in the fuss, however, is the fact that the Player of the Week award is getting more attention than ever before.
When a player like Harden or LeBron James wins the award, fans don’t bat an eye or even bother to look up the stats of the competition. Stars of their caliber consistently put up gaudy numbers in the regular season. However, when a player like Anthony — fresh off a year-long NBA hiatus — gets mentioned, fans and analysts go wild.
In a time when ratings are down, the NBA has generated a new buzz around the league, drawing casual viewers back into the fold. By giving an award of little value to a hot topic player, the league has garnered the attention of the masses. Without issuing any public statements or hosting a mid-season tournament, the NBA has found a way to lure the spotlight back to them and away from competitors like the NFL and NCAA, even if just for a few minutes.
Perhaps Anthony did, in fact, deserve the honor. But perhaps, there’s a little more to the story than the NBA is letting on. The truth may never be revealed, but this story alone proves the attention value of the perceived controversy.
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