Carmelo Is Back! Now He Has The Opportunity To Prove That He Deserves To Still Be In The NBA

Updated: November 24, 2019
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Future Hall Of Famer Carmelo Anthony has finally returned to the NBA, with the goal of showcasing the skills that proves he deserves to still be on an NBA roster. It’s been a frustrating process for Anthony, who has been waiting for the opportunity to play in the NBA again, knowing that he’s capable, ready, and prepared to do what he’s loved doing during his 16-year NBA career. He almost lost hope and almost gave in to the possibility that he would never play in the NBA again. But now, he has been blessed with the opportunity to play the game he loves at the highest level, and NBA fans and players are glad to see Melo back in the league again.

Carmelo was waived last November by the Houston Rockets after just playing 10 games; Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni called it “a poor fit”. Carmelo patiently waited for an opportunity to get signed by a team last season, but the call never came. And at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Carmelo was not part of any team. A situation that had many fans and players baffled and confused, since many thought he was still capable and skilled enough to be a valuable contributor to many teams. Some fans and players even started to believe that he was being blackballed, which is a confusing conspiracy theory because Carmelo does not have a reputation for doing anything outrageous that would prevent him from playing in the NBA.

“It wasn’t like Melo did something crazy to get kicked out of the league. A player of his caliber, without a reputation for doing wild stuff, and there’s not a real reason for him not to get an opportunity? It was weird. And I think that’s why so many people are in support of him: because they respect him, they are a fan of him, and they know he can still play.” – Damian Lillard

Through the waiting process, Carmello challenged himself to remain humble, in shape, ready, and prepared to play. Consistently working on his conditioning and skills with his trainer. He looked great in off-season pick-up games against NBA players. Training and practicing against NBA elite talent. And preparing himself, with the hope that when given the opportunity to play in the league again. He would be ready to perform and contribute at a high level.

Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey, intrigued by the potential of Carmelo being a good fit for the Portland Trail Blazers, decided to sign the future Hall of Famer to a non-guaranteed contract to join Portland and fill a needed void at power forward left by Zach Collins, who is out until at least March after undergoing shoulder surgery. Olshey believes Carmelo can be a key contributor, a veteran leader, and perform at a high level when given a defined role that compliments his skill set.

“Carmelo needs an empowering and welcoming environment with a defined role that embraces his skill set on the floor and his presence in the locker room. And we need a player that can generate production from the power forward position, can alleviate defensive pressure on Dame and CJ and be trusted to make plays at critical moments in close games.” – Neil Olshey

Now back in the league, Carmelo did not disappoint in his first three games. He showed the offensive skill set, instincts, and savvy that will allow him to score and contribute at a solid level for the Blazers. He’s currently averaging 13 points per game after his first three games played this season, stats that are likely to improve as he gets more comfortable in his offensive role. But more importantly, his teammates and the coaching staff believe in Carmelo, are happy to have him on their team, and are looking forward to playing well as a team with him.

“He’s going to be a problem for other teams, It’s going to be fun to see him, CJ (McCollum) and Dame (Lillard) kind of work that 1-4 pick and roll and see how teams are going to guard it. If they switch it, he can post, and if there is any kind of miscommunication, Dame and CJ will make you pay. So, looking forward to it.” – Kent Bazemore

Despite Carmelo’s underwhelming performances the past two seasons, in which he produced the two lowest-scoring seasons of his career. There’s a possibility that his struggles were a reflection of him being poorly used by the coaching staff or it could be a reflection of unrealistic expectations being placed on a player who is towards the end of his career, and is possibly not capable of producing the elite numbers that he produced earlier in his career. But the fact of the matter is that Carmelo is still a highly skilled scorer and an experienced player that can definitely still produce at a level that would allow him to be a valuable contributor to many teams in the NBA. All he needed was to be part of a team and coaching staff that believes in him and will give him the needed role and realistic expectations that compliment what he’s capable of producing at this point in his career. Carmelo humbled himself, stayed ready and prepared to play, and then got rewarded with the opportunity to play for a team that believes in him. Now, let’s hope that playing for Portland is where he has the opportunity to prove that he can still play in the NBA for many years to come.

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