The year is 2019. Carmelo Anthony has just been cut by the Houston Rockets and used as the scapegoat for a poor start to the season. It appears that he should be picked up pretty quickly, but several months go by. A bit before the league shuts down, the Portland TrailBlazers make a move to bring him to their roster.
It was odd to see a player of his caliber not on a team, no matter how much his play may have dipped in previous seasons. When he was in college, he led Syracuse in an impressive run, and they took it all the way. March Madness picks await picking. This year’s tournament is going to be another good one. Let’s continue to talk, Melo, though.
Still Possesses The Scoring Ability
A lot of Carmelo Anthony’s game has stayed the same throughout his career. He has always been a score-first, pass-second guy. That has worked well for him, as he has proven to be one of the most impressive offensive players of his era. The battles he used to have with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were incredible.
And then, of course, he played with his longtime friend, the scoring king, last season. The results were disastrous, but Anthony is far from being the only one to blame for that. Eight guys on that team a season ago have not suited up for any team or even been signed in 2022-23.
They failed to make the playoffs and barely ever had Anthony Davis on the floor. So many fingers can be pointed in so many directions as to the nuances of what went wrong.
Carmelo still had his moments. He showed that he could fill it up. Playing multiple minutes per appearance, he put up 13 points per game, also grabbing four rebounds. He was the team’s sixth man and was always able to provide a scoring punch when it was needed. There were moments when he looked like he could still put up 30 points.
It was no secret that his defense was suspect. He had lost his ability to keep up on that end of the floor. Playing for his fourth team in five years may have taken a toll on the veteran star. On 11 occasions, he was able to top the 20-point plateau. In games where he scored at least 23 points, the Lakers went 7-0. His success was able to directly correlate to that success for the team.
The issue was this didn’t happen often. They went 27-42 in his 69 games. He finished with one single double-double. He wasn’t the rebounder he was earlier in his career. But he could score. This is an offense-driven league, and he clearly deserves one more chance.
How many future Hall-of-Famers retire because they don’t have a contract? The answer would be very small if above 0.
Squads In Need
There are no doubt teams that could use what Melo can offer them. This is a scoring league where the best defensive team now allows 109 per contest. This is a far cry from the golden age of the league where defense reigned supreme. But, the offensive talent is also perhaps higher than it has ever been. So, old guys that can score should still be wanted.
Teams like the Hornets, Rockets, and Spurs truly have nothing to lose. They have been losing a ton of games. Things haven’t been going too well for them. It’s like when Allen Iverson came back to the 76ers to play the final games of his career.
The Grizzlies experiment, which many people forget about, failed miserably after only three games of AI coming off the bench. So, they decided to just cut their losses.
He landed back with those Sixers and played out his final games in the place where he first made a name for himself. Carmelo no doubt deserves a chance to go to a team with nothing at stake and just put in buckets. Boston was rumored to be interested after Danilo Gallinari’s season-ending injury. They believed the guys they had already would suffice. No temporary replacement.
There is no reason to write him off, though. The season has a few months left. Heck, the Lakers could use his leadership. The team is in contention for a playoff spot this time, whereas they lacked that firepower a year ago. What about teaming up with Malik Monk (again) in Sacramento?