Should the Portland Trail Blazers cut Carmelo Anthony?

Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Carmelo Anthony is having his worst start to an NBA season for the Portland Trail Blazers. The 18-year veteran is struggling to impact games positively as the Blazers season teeters on a knife-edge.

With multiple injuries to key players, and then a defense that is ranked 29th in the league, the Blazers can ill-afford to carry a guy like Melo.

It’s tough to admit that maybe Melo’s career is coming to an end. In the 2020 season, he had a nice year production-wise, and made some big shots in the NBA Bubble to help the Blazers make the playoffs. But as a rebounder, defender, and shot maker, his numbers were down across the board even last season.

Carmelo Anthony has not been effective for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2021

In the 2020 season, the only thing that Melo did positively was shoot threes. His 38.5 percent was his best return since the 2013/14 season.

But, as the case is this year, Melo is struggling to do anything else well. Defensively, he is a sieve as far as man defense goes. He regularly gets beaten down the floor on that end and cannot stay in front of his man.

His activity level isn’t bad around the basket, and he does deserve credit for getting more blocked shots and deflections in that area. Still, he is basically playing as a center now on defense, due to his lack of lateral movement.

His other issue, is not consistently boxing out. As Melo’s athleticism has declined, he is grabbing fewer rebounds, but for some reason, he doesn’t get a body on his opposites often enough.

The rebounding is obviously an issue for a Blazers team who sometimes runs three-guard lineups or has a six-foot-six or six-foot-six small forward. They need Melo to rebound at a strong rate.

When you add the poor rebounding to the poor defense, you see why the magnifying glass goes on his scoring, especially if it isn’t efficient.

Melo’s biggest problem in his game at this point of his career, is his shot profile. Maybe some of this is Terry Stotts fault for letting him take these shots, but it’s clear that Melo still thinks he should be taking baseline fadeaways and contested deep jumpers off the dribble.

These shots are some of the most difficult shots in a shooter’s repertoire and require athleticism and strong lift. Melo hasn’t lost his shooting touch, but as his athleticism has declined, these shots have stopped dropping.

There are better shooters on the Blazers now, so Melo wasting possessions on these types of shots doesn’t make sense.

Melo is having a terrible start to the season, with stats that put him as one of the NBA’s worst power forwards. There have been 21 games in the season, so he has time to get back on track, but the Blazers may not give him that grace.

Portland Trail Blazers: Carmelo Anthony 2020-21 stats so far

Here’s a look at Carmelo Anthony’s stats so far this season

  • Effective field goal percentage – 48.0 percent – bottom 9 percent of Power Forwards
  • 2-point percentage – 38.7 percent – bottom 11 percent of Power Forwards
  • 3-point percentage – 35.7 percent – bottom 35 percent of Power Forwards
  • On / off rating – negative 11.5 points per 100 possessions – 14 percent of Power Forwards

He is on a one-year minimum deal, and with the emergence of CJ Elleby and Nassir Little, Melo could get cut by the team. Guys like Little, Elleby and the breaking out Gary Trent Jr, may be better utilized in Melo’s minutes.  The Blazers may see cutting Melo as a negative move in terms of the perception of the franchise, though. But, if they need to use that roster spot, then Melo could be a casualty.

Carmelo Anthony may not fit on a playoff Portland Trail Blazers team

This team is trying to contend for the playoffs, and can’t afford to carry players who make the team worse on the court. The bottom of those four stats illustrates that Melo is making the Blazers significantly worse when he is on the court.

Melo is an all-time great who has been in the league for 18 seasons; let’s hope he can turn it around and add value for the rest of the season.

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