Following the Portland Trail Blazers thrilling play-in victory over Memphis to qualify for the 2020 NBA playoffs, Carmelo Anthony said that his teammate Damian Lillard was "the top guy [he's] played with."
Dame’s at the top for me. I’ve never played with someone who lifted his team on the court with his play and as a leader. He genuinely cares for his teammates. What he’s been able to do is amazing. He’s the top guy I’ve played with. -- Anthony told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports!
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On Monday, Shannon Sharpe said on FS1's Undisputed that he believes Melo's comments were off base. Instead, Sharpe believes that Melo is letting his personal perception and enjoyment of his stints around the league taint his objectivity, specifically surrounding Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
I believe Melo believes that Dame is the best player he's played with. I think it has to do with Dame's leadership. Also, the way the 2 seasons played out with Russ & Harden has some barring on this. - Shannon Sharpe on Melo's comments
In his 17-year career, Melo has played with Russell Westbrook and Paul George in Oklahoma City, James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in New York, and Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups in Denver to name a few.
When Melo played for OKC, Russell Westbrook was the reigning MVP and averaged a triple-double for the second consecutive season.
That offseason, Anthony signed a one-year, $2.4 million veterans minimum contract with Houston where he would only play ten games before being traded and waived by Chicago. After shutting down Anthony, Harden became the only player in NBA history to average 35 points (36.1) and seven assists in a season.
Sharpe made the case that because Melo's stints in OKC and Houston left a lot to be desired, and because Damian Lillard and Portland as a whole have embraced Melo he's letting that affect his judgment.
In his comments, Melo does mention Lillard's leadership and he's hardly the first person to compliment Dame on that. The Blazers point guard is widely renowned around the league for being the best leader in the NBA.
You can watch the full clip here.