Many people thought Carmelo Anthony was washed up and not worthy of a roster spot, he has proved this is far from the case with the Trail Blazers this year.
There hasn’t been much to feel good about for the Trail Blazers this season. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have been great as usual, but have struggled to get this team anywhere near a .500 record. There has been one feel good story that stands out though. The return of Carmelo Anthony to the NBA.
Many thought that Melo’s NBA career could be over, fans and media alike debated the validity of his game in the analytics age. But when Zach Collins went down injured, it only took a few weeks for Neil Olshey to pick up the phone and call Melo’s agent. He signed on November 19th with the Blazers and has been one of their best players since.
Considering the vitriol towards him and the predicted inefficiency, Melo has played very well. He has rebounded his position and he has been better defensively than people thought. He is shooting the three ball at some of the best rates of his career too.
So far this season he has played 26 games and has the following numbers.
16.6 points / 6.1 rebounds / 1.4 assists / 1.0 steals / 0.6 blocks
56 percent at the rim – on par with career average
40 percent from midrange – on par with career average
38 percent from three – significantly above career average
The efficiency from three has been huge, but also Melo’s ability to get his hands in the passing lanes and get deflections or steals has been a surprise.
Melo actually has his highest career percentile for steals this season.
Though his midrange shot probably hasn’t been dropping at a rate that he would like, he still hit a massive midrange shot against the Toronto Raptors to ice the game in January. His shot overall, has looked great and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a slight uptick in efficiency from the approx 40 percent he is shooting currently inside the arc.
His rebounding numbers could be better but when you dig deeper you see that the Blazers defensive rebounding numbers have been better when he’s on court. He plays hard and has been great boxing out opponents.
Melo still wants to win, you only need to watch ten minutes of him playing to see that. With Jusuf Nurkic returning in a few weeks it will be interesting to see the combo of him and Melo playing together.
Overall his play has been great, he has been looking to move the ball when possible and hasn’t tried to post up constantly. He mainly looks for mismatches in the post and has changed his game slightly to suit the NBA in 2020.
At the veterans minimum that Melo signed at he has been exceptional value. 16 and 6 is the production of a good starter. Coupled with almost 40 percent from three this signing has well and truly paid off for the Blazers.
Who knows what the rest of the season will bring, but if this team can go on a run with the likes of Nurkic and Zach Collins returning, Melo will be a key part of the action. He still has a lot left in the tank.