There comes a time in any star player's career where their playstyle has to change due to their waning athleticism. Every player gets older, and sometimes, their role changes over the years. We've seen plenty of All-Stars take smaller roles over the years to still be able to contribute effectively, and Carmelo Anthony has been one of them.
Carmelo Anthony was a top-tier scorer in his prime, with many seasons where he averaged above 25 PPG. While Anthony's scoring ability has certainly decreased since his prime, that didn't mean he couldn't be an effective player. During his time with the Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony has shown himself as capable of playing in a sixth-man role, becoming an effective bench scorer.
Despite the fact that Carmelo Anthony is thriving in his new role, he hasn't always been a huge fan of being a bench player. Even after his subpar season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Carmelo Anthony still refused to come off the bench. However, it seems as though his mindset has changed, and that he's ready to do what is required.
A recent article by Bill Oram has revealed some of Carmelo Anthony's mindset about coming off the bench. It seems as though Anthony has had to reduce his ego and focus solely on improving in his new role. However, it has clearly paid dividends. Carmelo Anthony has shown that he still has a place for him in this league, even if he isn't an All-Star anymore.
The Lakers know they are adding Anthony in the twilight of his career. He celebrated his 37th birthday this spring, making him the elder statesman on a team laden with players in their mid-30s. A 10-time All-Star, Anthony moved into 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list last season, a year that saw him take on a reserve role for the first time in his career.
It was a role he had resisted in previous stops and was seen as the chief cause of the friction that led to his ouster in Houston in 2018. The result was a year without a home in the league. But with the Blazers, Anthony started just three of 69 games last season. He proceeded to shoot 40.9 percent from 3 (the second-best percentage of his career) while averaging 13.4 points in 24.5 minutes per game.
“I had to figure out a way how to motivate myself and keep myself going in a different position, in a different role,” Anthony said. “So, you go for 16, 17 years and you’re the guy on the team and you’re the star, and then all of a sudden somebody is like, ‘Listen, come off the bench,’ I had to swallow that ego. I had to swallow that pride. But I also had to use that ego and that pride to keep me on edge and keep me motivated. And I’ve accepted that.”
Carmelo Anthony will retire as one of the best scorers in history, and his accolades and the respect he commands among his peers speaks volumes of his ability. While Carmelo Anthony himself admitted that it was "a different feeling" coming off the bench, he has adjusted very nicely. Carmelo Anthony could do very well in this role on the Los Angeles Lakers, and his scoring will be very useful when it comes to the playoffs.