Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts now has a new weapon on offense with the arrival of 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony. The 35-year-old forward finished his Portland debut with 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting, but he was consistently able to get to his spots and free up space, an encouraging sign after a year or so between his last NBA action.
After the game, Stotts said that he was impressed by Anthony’s offensive ability:
“To be honest, I thought he looked good. I thought offensively he got looks, he got good looks at the basket. I thought he got fouled at least two or three times taking it strong to the basket. He then came away empty, so that kind of affected his [stat] line. But I thought, for having a morning shootaround, I thought it was pretty good.”
Stotts wasn’t worried about Anthony’s shooting percentage, saying that the forward was able to get open looks and attack the basket. On the defensive side, Stotts pointed to the team’s overall defense as poor and that it couldn’t be blamed on just one player.
Looking forward to Anthony sharing the floor with both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, Stotts said he thinks Melo will be able to lighten the backcourt’s load and present problems for opposing teams in the pick-and-roll. Stotts did admit that it will be a process to fully incorporate Anthony into the offense:
“It’s gonna be a process, but he’s been doing it for a long time. He gets the ball in the post, or [at] the logo, he can get a good look at the basket. I would anticipate he’s going to play the way he’s played his entire career. Those are the shots he’s going to get for us.”
Anthony came into the game expected to play around 20 minutes, and he finished with 23 minutes. Stotts said the team would’ve likely played Melo more if the game was close. Portland’s head coach will see how Anthony felt after this game and move from there in determining the forward’s playing time.
You can watch Stotts’ full postgame interview here.