It looks like Carmelo Anthony has finally evolved into a well-rounded player.
Carmelo Anthony is back and, believe it or not, I am rooting for him this time around. The last three years have not been very kind to this prolific me-first player, but I think that is about to change. Let’s rewind back to the 2017-2018 season, when Anthony played for OKC. His season was disastrous and got even worse in the playoffs, when advanced stats and eye tests could determine that the Thunder were better when Melo rode the pine. He followed that season up with a brief 10-game stint with Houston before GM Morey said they were “parting ways.”
I think we all thought Carmelo would fit in perfectly with Houston; play defense on your heels and shoot the shit out of the ball. Unfortunately for him, advanced metrics, championed by Morey and Co., have never really agreed with him. As the NBA evolved into a space-and-pace game, Carmelo was still taking mid-range jumpers.
Let me lay out my thoughts on the player, Carmelo Anthony. He has been a cancer to every team for which he’s played. He’s the type of player who’d rather drop in 30 points and lose than score 10 and win; who would want this as your teammate? He shoots first and passes second - get it? Funny, I know. I will acknowledge that he has tremendous offensive capabilities. Players respect his one-on-one game and claim he is one of the harder matchups in the league, albeit going back a few years. But in summation, I would never want this guy to play for my beloved Celts.
When the Trail Blazers signed him I was instantly curious. Why? Well, Portland has one of the best front offices in the league - look at some of their draft selection and acquisitions over the last decade: Brandon Roy and Greg Oden (studs, careers ravaged by injuries), Patty Mills, Lilliard, LeMarcus Aldridge, and CJ McCollum. Even Nicolas Batum was a solid find out of France. Imagine how good this team would have been if it weren’t for injuries and trades. If the T-Blaze are going to sign Anthony, then they must see value in his skill set.
It’s been a small sample size of 30 games, but so far, he is much more efficient. He’s averaging over 16 PPG and 6 RPG while shooting over 44 percent from the field. In stretches, he’s even put up comparable number to his 2007-2008 season. I will also add that he looks significantly better physically. He had a doughy-looking body the last couple of years, but in his debut I was shocked to see the effort he put into losing weight. This shows me that he might actually care about being in shape, playing hard defense, lasting 35+ minutes, helping his team win games in any way, etc. You know, all the things you want in a star player.
Carmelo, I used to root against you and the type of player you were, but now I am rooting for you and the type of player I hope you have become. I have officially jumped on the Melo comeback bandwagon. I pulled a Jim Rome. Complete 180-degree turn.