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Is Carmelo Anthony the best player to ever wear a Blazers uniform?

Dame Time > Stay Me7o

Walton and Anthony at NBA Store Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony has been on a tear for the Trail Blazers over the last couple weeks. The ten-time All-Star has been averaging nearly 20 points per game and shooting a blistering 44 percent on 3-pointers over the last seven games:

He’s even found time for some throwback dunk highlights:

While his advanced stats and overall positive impact on a season-long scale remain debatable, Melo’s success over the last two weeks has created positive buzz across the league and has almost assuredly helped Portland win a couple games (e.g. vs. the 76ers). The strong play seems to have bolstered Anthony’s hopes to resurrect his career for a successful swan song after disappointing stints with the Thunder and Rockets.

From a legacy standpoint, Anthony’s scoring barrage has put him into position to move into the NBA’s top 10 in all-time scoring. Melo (26,784 points) trails Elvin Hayes (27,313 points) by 529 — if Anthony continues to average 13.5 points per game he will need 39 or 40 games to catch The Big E. The Blazers have 46 games left in the season.

(Note that Anthony also trails Hakeem Olajuwon by 162 points for No. 11 on the all-time scoring list.)

Where does Melo rank in NBA history?

Melo’s late-career ascendance into the upper echelon of NBA scorers begs the question of where he ranks among the all-time greats in league history. As a 10-time All-Star, 6-time All-NBA selectee, and one-time scoring champ he has certainly carved out a spot among the 100 or so greatest players in basketball history.

Beyond that, it gets dicey. Melo was never a regular MVP candidate, finishing in the top 5 in voting only once. He has had an unusually long career, perhaps cancelling out a general lack of playoff success for some observers. The notorious “Olympic Melo” of course earns some bonus points, but should non-NBA play count in this equation?

All-time rankings for Melo have vacillated ranging from ESPN’s 59 to Slam’s 105.

Where does Melo rank in Blazers history?

Anthony won’t go down as one of the greatest Blazers ever, but it is fair to wonder where his career ranks among players who have worn a Blazer uniform. In my opinion, he’s in a clear second tier below the multi-talented, elite superstars in Blazers history. Specifically, the careers of Clyde Drexler, Bill Walton, Scottie Pippen, and even Damian Lillard (ESPN actually ranked Dame head of Melo last year!) all outrank Carmelo.

After those four we get into the dicey territory of “what-ifs” like Arvydas Sabonis, Brandon Roy, and Drazen Petrovic or players who had a similar peak to Melo but didn’t last as long, like Lenny Wilkens.

Overall, I’m confident in ranking Anthony as about the fifth best player to ever wear a Blazers uniform. Let us know if you agree in the comments below!