Whilst on my way to work I listened to the the Ringer NBA Show podcast – where they detailed Carmelo Anthony’s inevitable closure with his tenure at the Rockets. Kevin O’Connor stated there were three teams interested in signing Carmelo – the Blazers, Pelicans and Sixers. It was reported later in the day that the Sixers and Pelicans had revoked their consideration.
Whilst Carmelo is a Hall of Fame player, and one that I was fortunate enough to watch score 30 points when playing the bulls in New York, I do not think at this point in his career would be useful for Portland.
Following Portland’s remarkable year where they earned the 3 seed in the stacked Western Conference, which was followed by the embarrassing and painful first round sweep at the hands of Holiday and Davis from the Pelicans – GM Neil Oshlay proclaimed his mission for the offseason was to bring in a veteran to provide a calming yet energising presence come playoff time.
Free agency came around in July, where Portland let go their only real veteran – Ed Davis – to the Brooklyn Nets. (Side note: they also offloaded half their bench in Napier and Connoughton). However, despite losing these players, the front office failed to do what they marked to be a top priority – signing a veteran.
As the days continued to pass, Portland signed the splash brothers brother, Seth Curry and Brooklyn’s Nik Stauskas. While many critics thought Portland had taken a step back, so far this season the Portland bench has been one of the better in the league.
Portland used their draft pick on Anfernee Simons, a 19 year old kid who came straight out of IMG Academy (a High School), who is not expected to develop into a NBA ready player for at least 2 to 3 years, and Gary Trent Jnr – a Duke three point specialist who somehow managed to fall into the second round.
So back to the question – do Portland need to make moves right now? Is the right mood to sign Carmelo Anthony? The answer which I will come to – is no.
Last year in OKC Melo averaged 40% (6-15) from the field and 35% (3-8) from 3, with a 43 effective field goal percentage.
Melo really killed the already suffering OKC offence, providing to be an inefficient and unreliable spot up 3 point shooter.
Melo also infamously responded when asked about coming off the bench following their first round exit at the hands of the Jazz – ‘I aint sacrificing no bench role’ – Iverson syndrome maybe?
This year hasn’t been any better with the Rockets, putting up similar numbers on an underwhelming team. A team that lost two key 3-and-D guys who were instrumental to their success in both the regular and post season last year.
Whilst I submit Carmelo is not the problem for the Rockets – it seems the GM and coaching staff are looking for a scapegoat to respond to early season struggles.
Portland – could it be that bad?
Yes – in short.
Portland is one of two teams (the Bucks also) who boast top 5 team statistics in offence and defence. So what could be the problem with adding a notoriously bad defender who provides ball stopping offence?
Portland, who averaged last in assists last year have started the season playing a much nicer brand of basketball. With Lillard distributing, as shown by his 12 assists in a win against the Celtics, and a hot 3 point bench controlled by Evan Turner is proving to be a problem for opponents.
Portland has also been fantastic on defence, led by the Amino, Nurkic, Collins and Harkless (when he’s not injured).
Portland is currently 10-3 placing second in the Western Conference, I don’t think adding Carmelo will benefit the team in any way. I think if the front office still wants to acquire a veteran presence, they do it later in the year in the buyout market.