Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony continues to pad his Hall of Fame resume, surpassing Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list on Tuesday night.
Anthony surpassed Wilkins after sinking a heavily-contested 3-pointer over Rui Hachimura late in the third quarter of their 132-121 win against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena.
Anthony finished with 21 points off the bench while shooting 8-of-16 from the field. That 3-pointer was the only one he made in the win.
Anthony entered Tuesday’s game needing only 14 points to catch Wilkins, who scored 26,668 points over 15 seasons, mostly with the Hawks. For anyone still questioning Anthony’s Hall of Fame case: The 36-year-old could climb as high as 10th on the all-time scoring list this season.
Everyone in the top 43 on the scoring list has either been enshrined already or is waiting his turn. Tom Chambers and Antawn Jamison are the only eligible 20,000-point scorers yet to be inducted. Joe Johnson may soon join them.
Anthony was the sixth-youngest player to reach 20,000 points when he hit the mark in November 2014. He averaged 20 or more points for the first 14 years of his career, before age tipped the efficiency scale from his extraordinary scoring prowess to the defensive deficiencies that long held him just below MVP caliber.
Anthony’s unwillingness to transition to a complementary role nearly ended his career two years ago when the Houston Rockets dumped him on the Chicago Bulls, who subsequently waived him. He went unsigned for almost a full year before the injury-riddled Blazers made him a non-guaranteed offer in November 2019.
He earned his veteran minimum contract last season, averaging 15.4 points on 43/39/85 shooting splits as a starter on a team that made a successful late-season playoff push. Acquisitions of Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. forced Anthony into a reserve role in Portland this season. He is averaging 11.9 points on subpar 37% shooting from the field and 34.7% shooting from distance in 25.9 bench minutes per game.
This final act of his career has pushed Anthony from just outside the top 20 on the all-time scoring list to within striking distance of the top 10 this season. At his current pace, a healthy Anthony should surpass the career points of Oscar Robertson (26,710) and Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) in the coming weeks and months. That would leave him a hot scoring streak away from catching Elvin Hayes’ 26,710 points for 10th on the list.
Only MVPs would then stand ahead of Anthony in the Hall: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), LeBron James (34,771 and counting), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Dirk Nowitzki (31,560), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Shaquille O’Neal (28,596) and Moses Malone (27,409).
Anthony has only survived the first round of the playoffs twice in his career and not once since 2013, leaving him outside the all-time top 70 in postseason scoring, but we have long since passed the point where playoff failures would prevent him from induction. A six-time All-NBA selection and 10-time All-Star, he led Syracuse to the 2003 NCAA championship as a freshman, became the most decorated men’s basketball player in U.S. Olympic history and continues to climb the scoring ladder. Give him his due.
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