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Stats Breakdown: Carmelo Anthony’s prolific career scoring

A visual look at the numbers behind Carmelo Anthony's career and scoring prowess.

Carmelo Anthony retires as the ninth-leading scorer in NBA history with 28,289 career points.

Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday, marking the official end for one of the most prolific scorers in league history. In 19 seasons in the league, Anthony amassed 28,289 career points, a mark topped only by eight other players in league history.

To celebrate Anthony’s career and his amazing scoring prowess, we break down his numbers through a variety of stats visualizations to illustrate what made Anthony a future Hall of Famer.

A top 10 scorer

After winning a national championship at Syracuse, Anthony entered the league as part of the storied 2003 NBA draft, alongside the likes of all-time scoring leader LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Despite plenty of competition, it was Anthony that led all rookies in scoring at 21 points per game, which was good for 12th in the entire league.

Proving to be a walking bucket from the first day he stepped on an NBA court, Anthony put together 14 straight seasons averaging 20 points or more as he split his time between the Denver Nuggets (2003-2011) and New York Knicks (2011-2017). It was with the Knicks in 2017 that Anthony passed Charles Barkley to enter the top 25 on the career scoring list and continued to pass Hall of Famers on his way to ninth place.

Just less than half of Anthony’s career points came during his stint with the Nuggets as he finished his time in the Mile High City with 13,970 points (49.4% of his career total). He followed that with a 6.5-year run in New York and added another 10,186 points (36%) to his career total. The final five seasons of his career were spent with Oklahoma City (1,261 points, 4.5%), Houston (134 points, 0.5%), Portland (1,819 points, 6.4%) and the Los Angeles Lakers (919 points, 3.2%).

Winning that elusive scoring title

After finishing 12th in the scoring title race as a rookie (21.0 ppg), Anthony fell to 19th in his sophomore season (20.8 ppg) as his scoring took a slight dip from his first year. That would be the last time, however, he would finish below the top 10 for nearly a decade as Anthony put together nine straight top 10s and six top 5 finishes from 2005-06 to 2013-14.

Anthony finished second to Kobe Bryant in 2006-07, fourth behind LeBron, Kobe and Allen Iverson in 2007-08, eighth in 2008-09, third behind Kevin Durant and LeBron in both 2009-10 and 2010-11, and sixth in 2011-12 in his first full season with the Knicks. After knocking on the door for years, Anthony finally broke through in 2012-13 as his 28.7 points per game bested Durant, Kobe, LeBron and James Harden. He had been known as one of the best pure scorers in the league for years, but a decade into his career he finally had the coveted scoring title.

Getting buckets against all opponents

No opponent was safe from Carmelo’s scoring wrath. Anthony averaged more than 24 points against five teams over the course of his career: Portland (24.3 ppg in 43 career games), Atlanta and Washington (24.5 ppg in 40 games each), New York and Charlotte (25.2 ppg in 23 and 38 games, respectively).

When it comes to total points, eight teams allowed more than 1,000 points to Anthony. That group is led by Minnesota (1,135 points in 51 games), LA Clippers (1,077 in 50 games), Chicago (1,075 in 45 games), Milwaukee (1,060 in 45 games), Portland (1,045 in 43 games), Utah (1,039 in 46 games) Dallas (1,027 in 47 games) and Phoenix (1,007 in 49 games). Three more teams just missed this cut as Orlando (999 in 42 games), Memphis (994 in 45 games) and Golden State (991 in 44 games) were each single digits away from that 1K threshold.

A three-level scorer

What made Anthony so dangerous for opposing defenses was his ability to score from all areas of the court. He was a nightmare to guard in isolation, as he would use his famous jab step move to create just the slightest bit of separation for him to rise up for a jumper. Of course, what made the jab step an effective move was Anthony’s ability to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. If his drive wasn’t a threat, then the jab step would be meaningless.

Over the course of his career, Anthony made 1,731 3-pointers (27th all-time) and shot 35.5 percent from beyond the arc, peaking with two seasons over 40 percent in 2013-14 with New York and 2020-21 with Portland. The 3-pointer became a bigger piece of Anthony’s offensive arsenal later in his career, peaking with two seasons over six attempts per game during his time in Houston and Oklahoma City.

The other two areas where Anthony dominated were the mid-range and the free throw line. Anthony ranks 17th on the all-time list in free throws made with 6,320 for his career as an 81.4% shooter. Anthony is also one of the masters of the mid-range game with a combination of pull-up jumpers, step-back jumpers, and fadeaway jumpers. He would beat opponents facing up from 20 feet or with his back to the basket, backing down an opponent before unleashing a fadeaway jumper that was nearly unstoppable.

On the night he broke Bernard King’s record for the most points ever scored by a Knicks player with 62 in a win over Charlotte, Anthony shot 23-of-35 from the floor and a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line. His field goals made included four in the paint, six from 3-point range and 13 from the mid-range on 72% shooting.