Carmelo Anthony was once an afterthought. A player who many media talking heads thought should retire. Franchises didn’t see the need, coaches didn’t push, and people gave up on him. The only people that foresaw this comeback were his fans, and peers. Even Anthony himself had to physically, mentally, and emotionally get over the hump and strive to make it work.
In this bubble restart, Anthony is averaging 16.2 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting an efficient 47.8 percent from three-point range. His pre-COVID suspension averages of 15.4 points and six rebounds per game are on par with his current output. His improvement comes from behind the arc, as he shot 39.7 percent before “The Bubble”. Not only can he still put the ball in the hole, but his veteran savvy and rebounding capabilities give his presence and extra boost.
While he may not be putting up 30 every night, his clutch scoring has given the Blazers another threat at the end of games. Now, keying in on Damian Lillard may not only lead to a pass out to CJ McCollum but may also be a pass out to Anthony spotting up on the perimeter.
CARMELO ANTHONY. CLUTCH
Seeing Melo hitting clutch threes hits different. 🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/x1EM2dJvG6
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 31, 2020
Anthony just grabbed the 15th spot on the all-time scoring list, which leaves one to wonder what it would look like had he not been ousted prematurely from Houston after just 10 games.
Where Melo would stack up on the NBA's all time scoring list if Houston didn't blackball him:
~65 games missed last szn x 13.4 PPG = 871
11 playoff games missed x 13.4 PPG = 147
First 14 games missed this szn x 15.3 PPG = 214
That's 1,232 points which would put him 9th all time
— CTRL the Narrative (@ctrlnarrative) August 9, 2020
He looks different on the court. He’s a step slower on the defensive side, but tenacious on big possessions. His focus to steal the ball from James Harden and block P.J. Tucker at the end of the Blazers-Rockets game showed just that.
There’s a calmness to him. A peace. Anthony has seen it all and is ready to give the team whatever it needs on a game by game basis. He picks and chooses his spots, defers to his in-prime teammates, and keeps the communication fluid on the floor.
In this AAU style NBA bubble anything is possible, and with Anthony on the Blazers, that can prove dangerous to whomever they play. They will need him to continue his productivity if they want a shot at the playoffs. Gary Trent Jr. is the popular x-factor now, but Anthony is just as important. Slower forwards still have time adjusting to his multi-jab step moves in the high post. What he lost in quickness, he gained in timing.
The Blazers are 4-2 so far and are half a game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth spot. Now somewhat fully healthy, they’ll look to solidify their spot in the playoffs in the coming days. As Carmelo Anthony climbs the scoring charts, the Blazers will look to climb the seedings.