Carmelo Anthony was one of the faces of the NBA for many years. He was drafted in the legendary 2003 NBA draft; one that included faces such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Carmelo was drafted third overall to the Denver Nuggets who were in rebuild mode following a season to forget, finishing last in the entire league for win shares. Because of the situation he was placed into, Anthony was always playing heavy minutes.
He even averaged 36.5 minutes per game in his rookie season. He was playing good basketball too: He averaged 21 points per game while leading the team to squeak into the playoffs as the 8th seed. It was the Nuggets’ first playoff appearance in almost a decade.
Anthony remained consistent throughout his years in Denver. He was averaging around 25 points per game, with his shooting efficiency increasing by the year.
He did not miss the playoffs a single year during his time in Denver, including a good run to the western conference finals in 2009, where they took the Lakers to 6 games in a disappointing finish. Three years later, New York showed interest in the young forward. At the trade deadline, the Knicks orchestrated a trade to acquire Anthony in exchange for some draft picks and solid role players.
Anthony showed some promise when he joined the new franchise. He got them into the playoffs as the team leader, just to get swept by the Celtics. Anthony was 26 years old at the time.
The following 2 seasons would be the best of Anthony’s career. The forward averaged 28 points per game and even made an appearance in the western conference semifinals. But after seven memorable seasons with the team, Carmelo’s production had lowered. He had still been a starter in 2017 but was at a career-low 40% shooting. He was thirty-two years old, and age was becoming a factor.
Anthony was later traded in the 2017 offseason and became a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was supposed to play a role in a “big 3” that included Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George. Unfortunately, the Thunder were eliminated in the first round against the Houston Rockets.
At that point, Carmelo was turning 34 soon and was desperate for an NBA championship. He decided to join the Houston Rockets, who had eliminated his team in the previous year and were a very promising team.
However, there was one problem: Anthony did not appreciate his role. The Rockets wanted Anthony to come off of the bench; something he had never done throughout his career. He was unhappy with the situation and protested. He also shot a lot of mid-range jump shots: a shot that the Rockets system did not encourage, thanks to coach D’Antoni’s modern offensive strategy.
As a result, Anthony and the Rockets came to a mutual agreement, and the Rockets waived Anthony. That was Anthony’s last NBA job- until now.
It has been exactly one year since Anthony has played in the NBA. He had been looking to sign a deal throughout last season, but not a single team wanted the risk. At that point, Anthony did not care about a starting position and just wanted to play.
Fortunately, the Portland Trail Blazers decided to step up and sign the 35-year-old for a veteran’s minimum contract. The Blazers have had a disappointing start to the season, and are looking for anything that could turn that around. They have taken the low-risk chance of Carmelo, and are hoping for a nice surprise from him. There is definitely some uncertainty about his physical shape after not playing in over a year, but the only way to find out is to put him on the floor.
Anthony is set to make his debut Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. For his career, Anthony is averaging 16 PPG against the Pelicans.