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---CARMELO ANTHONY & LEBRON JAMES DEBATE---

Note: This debate page was created just prior to the 2003 NBA Draft

Now that both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have officially announced that they're throwing their names into the hat for the 2003 NBA Draft, the question now is which one of these two tremendous players is truly better? Sure, LeBron is almost a lock to be picked #1 in the draft simply because of his popular name, but is he really the best choice? Both men are nearly idendentical in size, with Carmelo standing 6-8 and weighing 220, while LeBron stands at 6-8 as well, but packs on 240 pounds. Carmelo is coming off of a tremendous season in which he averaged 22.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game for the 30-5, 2002/2003 NCAA National Champion Syracuse Orangemen. LeBron, on the other hand, lead his prep team, St.Vincent/St.Mary's of Akron, Ohio to an undefeated season at a #1 ranking in the Fab 50. During his amazing senior season of high school, LeBron averaged 30.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, as well as dishing out 4.9 assists. As of right now, I would compare Carmelo's game to that of NBA stars Antoine Walker and Glenn Robinson. He's more polished than both of those two were at the college level, and with a little improvement in certain areas, he can be a 21.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG guy in the NBA like those two have been during their careers. Right now, LeBron James is not only being compared to Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady simply because he's skipping college to enter the NBA; his style is very much similar and his level of play is superior to that of Bryant and McGrady at that age. If he improves his outside shooting and becomes able to nail a 15-18 foot jumper on a regular basis, then LeBron could very easily be a guy that you could depend on to get you 25.0 PPG in the NBA after a few seasons. When they met up during Carmelo's senior and LeBron's junior season, both men finished with great games. LeBron won the battle in the point column by two, but Carmelo's Oak Hill Academy defeated LeBron's St.Vincent/St.Mary's. It's been quite awhile since two players have proven to be so far ahead of their peers at their respective levels, and that they declare for the draft at the same time. Carmelo was clearly the cream of the crop at the college level, while LeBron had people eating his dust at the prep level.


BASIC PLAYER INFORMATION

 
Carmelo Anthony Information
Picture
Level
Height
Weight
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
Team Record
College
6-8
220
22.2
10.0
2.2
1.6
30-5


 
LeBron James Information
Picture
Level
Height
Weight
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
Team Record
Prep
6-8
240
30.4
9.7
4.9
2.9
32-0


OVERALL ABILITY

 
Ability Advantage
Dribbling
Endurance
Field Goals
Free Throws
3 Point
Rebounding
Passing
Defense
Leadership
NBA Ready
Quickness
Dunks
LeBron
Melo
Melo
Melo
Melo
Melo
LeBron
LeBron
LeBron
Melo
LeBron
LeBron


THE ADVANTAGE

Make no mistake about it, both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are two of the most talented basketball players to come along in quite sometime, and are clearly the best two players of their era. That is why the two of them will be connected together and compared to each other throughout their NBA careers. As of right now, there is no denying that LeBron James is clearly the flashier and better play maker of the two. His ability to score and give teammates openings to score is better than Carmelo's. While Carmelo is the better shooter overall in terms of FG, FT, and 3PT, LeBron's great quickness and tremendous athletesism allow him to put up huge numbers in terms of scoring. However, Carmelo clearly has the edge in terms of low-post scoring and when left open, he's more of a threat to nail an open shot than James is. Another aspect that favors Carmelo is that he is the better rebounder and has more stamina than James. Averaging 10.0 RPG is no easy task no matter what level you're playing at, and when you take into consideration that Carmelo averaged that many boards per game while playing the competition he did, it's unreal. He also battled down low against the best post players in college basketball and exerted a lot of energy on both ends of the court in doing so, and he proved that he could hold up and still deliver on offense. One thing that can't be denied is that LeBron is a more vocal and emotional player on the court, and his defensive skills currently are better than those of Carmelo in terms of on-the-ball defending, but in terms of playing in a zone, Carmelo has the advantage because he's great at playing help defense and displays more effort in helping out on defense than LeBron does.

These two are being looked upon to put up huge numbers in the NBA, but probably more LeBron than Carmelo. LeBron has been hyped up like no prep player before him, and Carmelo is receiving more attention than any college player in recent memory. Nobody really took Carmelo as being the NBA prospet he was before seeing him in the NCAA tournament, while LeBron has had the spotlight on him for over a year now. People have heard a lot about LeBron, and many are getting sick to their stomach over the hype he's getting. Hopefully, they don't build this great kid up too much only to tear him down if he comes up short of those unbelievably high expectations. In nearly every poll, fans are saying that Carmelo should be the #1 pick in the draft and that he's more ready for the NBA than LeBron and that he'll have the better NBA career, and I tend to agree with that as well. They'll have their work cut out for them in the NBA because they'll get drafted by below average NBA teams, and as we all know, the gap between the playoff teams and the lottery teams in the NBA is fairly big. When LeBron gets drafted, he may struggle to score as much because he'll be looked upon as the only true scoring threat on his team, while Carmelo doesn't have to do everything all by himself in order to put up big numbers. I'd look for Carmelo to have the better rookie season out of the two, and as of right now, I think that 16.0 PPG and 6.5 RPG are realistic for Carmelo during his rookie season. As for LeBron, it's going to be a tougher road, but I think he'll be averaging anywhere between 15.0-20.0 PPG in his rookie year, but don't look for his numbers to be that great in any other field.

WINNER