The Trail Blazers have endured a handful of high-profile injuries to start the 2020-21 season. For that reason, Portland has relied lower-paid players to step in and fill the gaps. As HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina notes in his article on the NBA’s best offseason bargains, Carmelo Anthony has covered that role seamlessly.
Despite ranking tenth on the Blazers in salary, Anthony has provided a steadying force, keeping the Blazers afloat in the Western Conference gauntlet. He returned to the team on a $2.6 million, veteran-minimum deal. Even so, Melo is fourth on the team in scoring (14.2) and he has a true shooting percentage around what it normally was in his prime (53.6%).
Urbina highlights the simple fact of him being healthy and available has been a net positive. He also pointed out how Anthony stacks up from an analytical and tracking standpoint.
“Not only has Anthony been an accurate three-point shooter this season, he hardly turns the ball over and ranks as a ‘good’ scorer, per Synergy Sports, out of the post, on spot-up shot attempts, in isolation and in transition, giving his offensive game a good amount of diversity that has been a big boost for the Portland Trail Blazers on the campaign.
What’s more, despite facing a ton of injuries this season, the Blazers still rank sixth in offensive efficiency, boasting an impressive 115.6 offensive rating, and though a lot of that has to do with Damian Lillard’s excellence as a scorer, Anthony missing just one game all year long and providing solid secondary scoring has also been huge for the club.”
Anthony was one of 11 players named to the “best bargain” list. For those interested in the other 10 players, you can read the full story here.