carmelo anthonyCarmelo Anthony has not been the same player this season. Articles across the country have lauded him for an improved all-around game. Surely his stats are more balanced since his rebounding and assist numbers increased, but that does not mean he plays better basketball overall.

His rebound rate ranks among the top for small forwards, but the increase can be attributed to the departure of Marcus Camby, who previously snagged those boards. No one else on the team rebounds well, and someone has to get the ball.

His shooting percentages are at a career low, and his possessions result in turnovers at a far higher percentage than ever before. Melo apologists cite a sore elbow, but great players learn to deal with injuries.

For the stat geeks out there, Carmelo’s PER has fallen to 16 this season, after three straight seasons between 21.1 and 22.1. Can we really blame the elbow?

Here are the top 4 possibilities why Carmelo is missing shots and making more mistakes:

  1. He’s hurtUsually when someone’s arm hurts, they can’t shoot or dribble as well.
    Solution: He is still making free throws, so he should try to limit himself to high percentage shots. Carmelo has never shown good shot selection, but this time he really should try.
  2. He’s too fatHe reportedly lost 9 pounds in the offseason, slimming down from 245 to 236. However, he does not look any thinner. Athletes often say they lost weight, packed on muscle, or are in the best shape of their lives. Usually lies. His NBA profile lists him at 230, but that was probably his rookie weight. This article mentions 228-230 is Melo’s ideal weight. He weighed 220 at Syracuse. Maybe his chef is too good.
    Solution: He may lose his personal chef, Daniel Young. Young cooked for Obama at the DNC, and may be moving to the White House.
  3. He got a haircut
    Everyone knows unique hair helps you play better. Look at Ben Wallace. No one cares about his hair anymore, and he plays like an old man.
    Solution:Shave a nugget into his hair.
  4. The Nuggets need a new shooting coach
    Does anyone remember JR Smith? This was supposed to be his breakout season. His assists and rebounds are at career highs (sound familiar?), but he can’t buy a bucket.
    Is Reggie Miller available?

Do you think Carmelo can recover and post his fourth straight excellent season?