Portland Trail Blazers: Why Carmelo Anthony is a key piece

Carmelo Anthony is a name that draws debate amongst Portland Trail Blazers fans, but whether you like it or not, Melo is a valuable weapon.

Portland Trail Blazers twitter and the wider NBA Twitter community were on fire after Carmelo Anthony dropped 17 4th quarter points to carry the Blazers over the Philadelphia 76’ers at home. It’s a performance like this that highlights why Melo is a key for Portland going forward.

On the 19th of November 2019, the Portland Trail Blazers bought first-ballot Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony back into the NBA landscape by signing him as a free agent. He had been out of the league for over a year after being cut by the Houston Rockets.

In his first season with the Blazers, Melo averaged 15.4 points per game and showed the NBA world that he still had it in him, however, he wasn’t the dream third star to pair alongside Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum that was once thought. At 35, he had lost a step and didn’t have the bounce he once did.

Regardless, he returned for his second season with the Blazers, and the criticism has been high amongst the fan base. Granted, he hasn’t performed up to his capability, but Carmelo is a key, and this is why.

1. Scoring ability:

Carmelo Anthony will never lose his ability to score, even if he goes through a cold spell. In his new role off the bench, Melo gets a chance to shine and bring his strengths to the table, which is scoring in isolation out of the low post.

The big thing he has bought to the Blazers is his 3-point shot. Anthony has shot 38% from behind the line since being in Portland, and with only 2 of his 18 seasons being over 40% from this range, Anthony has bought a new dynamic to his versatile scoring arsenal.

The fact of the matter is, Anthony is one of the greatest scorers of all time, and like he has proven many times in a Portland Trail Blazers uniform, he can make the big-time shots when they need to be made.

2. Opening up looks for shooters:

Due to his reputation and the respect he harbors from players and coaches around the league, it is a common occurrence for Anthony to see a double team when working down in the low post. This opens up a shooter on the floor, and with players like Damian Lillard, C.J McCollum, and Gary Trent Jr and a team focus to shoot the 3-point shot, this could provide great looks.

3. Veteran leadership:

Damian Lillard is regarded as one of the best, if not the best leaders in the NBA, but Carmelo Anthony has the experience that Dame can’t buy. From this friendship with LeBron, to countless team USA experiences, Carmelo has been around the best of the best for his whole career.

This experience is invaluable, and with young players coming through getting important minutes, Carmelo Anthony’s teachings are a rare tool. To have a man approaching the top 10 on the NBA’s all-time leading scorers list handing down his knowledge is incredible for the Blazers’ future.

4. Big game presence:

Despite never playing in the NBA finals, Carmelo has competed in countless big games, whether it be regular season NBA, NBA playoffs, or on the international stage. With the pressure on and all eyes on the backcourt, to have someone as skilled and experienced as Carmelo Anthony sitting off the ball is an incredible weapon.