Last time we saw Carmelo Anthony on a professional court, it wasn’t under the best circumstances. His reputation as a selfish, ball-stopping has-been was getting worse, and his efficiency on the offensive end was a career-worst 40%.
With the Portland Trail Blazers opening a window for his return, why should any of us believe we’ll see anything different this time around?
Well, for one, he seems to have made some physical adjustments. According to Portland backcourt star CJ McCollum, Melo seems rejuvenated as he prepares for his latest stint.
“He looks like he’s changed his body a little bit,” McCollum said to ESPN. “Started lifting more on his legs, his lower half. He was dunking this summer. He doesn’t usually dunk, so that’s how I knew he was feeling good. I don’t know if it was because of the work or because he’s been off or a combination, but he looked like he had new life, more bounce in his step.”
After Saturday night’s victory over the Spurs, the Blazers are 11th in the West with a 5-8 record. Needless to say, this performance isn’t what the team had in mind entering the season.
Anthony will be called upon to fill an empty frontcourt and relieve scoring pressure off of Dame and CJ.
At 35-years-old, it’s unlikely Melo will ever return to his All-Star form. But if he comes into it with the right mindset, and with fresh legs, he has the potential to make a real difference.