It was a hard battled season for the Portland Trailblazers. A team who had expectations as one of the top contenders in the West, things just seemed to struggle to come together. Carmelo Anthony was given another chance in the NBA by Portland to come in and make a difference for the team. Even though as a team things didn’t turn in their favor, Melo was a team favorite who may have another shot with the roster next season.
After failed attempts with the Thunder and Rockets, Melo understood that his role on Portland was to be the veteran that contributes. He realized that he was no longer the number 1 scoring option that he once was during his time in Denver and New York. At the time of his signing, Portland got off to a horrible start to the season. They needed somebody to step behind their two stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. As the team was at the loss of its two key role players in Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, Melo was the guy that the Blazers needed to come in and play well.
During the course of the season, Melo averaged 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds on 43% shooting. It took him a little while to get going (which was probably due to rust), but once he got into a flow there was no stopping him. Melo allowed the game to come easy for him playing with his Blazer teammates. He didn’t have to overthink anything and he really accepted his role as one of the key contributors . I guess many could tell that Melo knew this was his true last chance to prove himself as an NBA player. He came into this season with a different mindset to help the team win and play at an efficient level.
When the season was suspended due to COVID-19, many players spent their quarantine unmotivated and out of rhythm. Well, not Melo. Being the 17 year vet that he is, Melo used quarantine to his advantage to make himself even better than he was during the season. He would slim down even more and he was arguably in the best shape that he ever been in his 17 year career. With the Blazers going into the bubble chasing the 8 seed, Melo understood that it would be time to turn things up and play at the highest level to make the playoffs.
When Melo’s number was called in the bubble, he rose to the occasion. He came up big in key moments of every game and many times sealed the deal for the Blazers to secure a win. His teammates loved the production that they got out of him and everything was going well for this Portland team. If it wasn’t for Melo’s production behind Lillard and McCollum, it would be in question whether this team would have secured a playoff spot or not.
Despite losing in 5 games to the Lakers in the first round, Portland made great redemption after struggling for most of the season. When everything wasn’t going right for the team, they stayed the course and continued to play good basketball. Melo has became a team favorite in the locker room. The rest of the guys seem to love his presence and they rave about his play after ball games. Melo definitely did a great job this season being the veteran role player that the team desperately needed to get into the postseason .
“I think I found a home in Portland” Anthony stated in their Game 5 postgame interview. It’s safe to say that Melo wants to potentially finish his career as a Trailblazer. When things were not going Melo’s way as far as being on an NBA roster, the Blazers front office took a chance on the veteran to see what he could do for the team. It’s great to watch everything work out for Melo being on the Blazers. Hopefully the team can run it back next season with him back in the locker room.
The Portland Trailblazers should re-sign Carmelo Anthony this offseason. After showcasing a brilliant redemption season, he is the right piece that is needed for Portland to build into a championship team. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are going to continue to shine as next season comes around. But having Melo on their roster, his scoring production will take Portland to another level going forward.