Portland Trail Blazers: Examining Derrick Jones Jr. and other expiring players

Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers
Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

What should the Portland Trail Blazers do with Carmelo Anthony?

At age 37, Carmelo Anthony is still one of the NBA’s best isolation scorers, however the problem with Anthony (as has been the case for the past few seasons) has been efficiency as 52% of his field goal attempts this season came from the midrange, per cleaningtheglass.com.

He knocked them in at a decent clip (42 percent) but regardless, the second unit’s offensive success seemed to hinge a little too much on whether or not Melo was feeling it on a given night.

Last season’s Melo/Kanter pairing was a certified disaster defensively, and to see both of them back in the same roles next year would have Blazers’ fans tearing their hair out. I think Melo is an interesting candidate to replace Kanter as the team’s back-up five.

His shooting and floor-reading ability could provide some much-needed relief for Portland’s ball-handlers who are good-enough shooters coming off of a screen that they usually draw a double team (especially if they’re named Damian Lillard).

Questions will always be asked about his defense, but if they surround him with the young legs of Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, or Derrick Jones Jr. among others, the team just might be able to tread water defensively.

There has been little evidence up to this point in Carmelo Anthony’s career that he can have success playing the five, however in the right system, I believe he can be effective in that role. It might just take some creativity from the coaching staff to accommodate his lack of mobility and rebounding on defense.

Melo still commands respect from defenders as a scorer you cannot leave open, so look for Portland to bring Anthony back in a slightly adjusted role next season. You can read more about Portland’s decision to bring Melo back here.