Luc vs. Melo

The Prince Keeps Melo in Check

Steve von Horn of Milwaukee Bucks blog Brew Hoop has begun a series called « In Defense of Defense » wherein he will analyze Luc’s impact on the defensive end of the court against some of the game’s elite wing players. Over the next few weeks, von Horn will analyze every matchup between Luc and several star players over the past three years. He will post his findings to Brew Hoop and we’ll share them with you here on

So far Luc has graded very highly in his matchups with LeBron James and Kevin Durant, now Brew Hoop’s Steve von Horn turns his attention to a matchup between the Prince and one of the league’s most cold-blooded scorers, Carmelo Anthony.

Luc has controlled Melo inside and forced him to take mostly low percentage mid-range shots (Getty Images).

Von Horn made his way through nearly five hours of footage with Luc and Melo on the floor and found that No. 12 gives Anthony all he can handle.

« Luc caused plenty of problems for Mr. Iso in the painted area. The Knicks’ designated scorer pushed into the paint on plenty of plays, but the Bucks’ designated stopper did well to cut off the best angles and easiest looks. In sum, Anthony only converted 32-79 FGs (40.5 percent) in the paint during stints with LRMAM on the hardwood. That’s a damn fine job by Mbah a Moute. »

The lone success point for Anthony in von Horn’s findings is mid-range, a spot where Anthony is one of the league’s most difficult to stop. But von Horn believes the shots Luc forces Melo into from mid-range are so low-percentage, that the Bucks can live with the results.

« Melo at least partially holds himself down my sticking to mid-range attempts, where it’s tough to draw fouls and conversion rates are lower than almost any other spot. Luc funneled him into tough shots on a huge chunk of possessions, as more than half of Anthony’s attempts came from mid-range or the non-restricted paint area. »


Luc’s outstanding work against Melo makes him three-for-three against the NBA’s top wing players and after studying hours of footage of Luc against three elite NBA players with very different skillsets, von Horn admits he’s astounded at how well the Prince has been able to handle each of the league’s best.

I started this study because I wanted to know more about how LRMAM has affected top scorers — it’s a simplistic way to test his defensive reputation and try to gain some insight into the value of perimeter defenders in the NBA — and he has impressed me at every stage of the process. LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony are supremely talented, but they all score in very different ways and have very different ways of approaching the game.

The one constant is that LRMAM knows how to suppress the best skills of each player and undermine their offensive production.

Next up, von Horn will analyze Luc’s matchups with a divisional rival, Indiana’s Danny Granger.