Several storied veterans around the league with multiple All-Star appearances to their name are coming off of the bench this season, including future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers. Steve Aschburner of NBA.com details how Anthony, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap, Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol, and Derrick Rose are thriving in reserve roles this season. In the case of Anthony, many had understandable doubts about whether he would be satisfied coming off of the bench, given his past.
A proud 10-time All-Star, Anthony never came off the bench in his first 15 NBA seasons. He shot down even the suggestion of it at the end of 2017-18 when he was with Oklahoma City. “I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” he said as the Thunder’s season ended.
The next season in Houston, Anthony came off the bench eight times in 10 games before being taken out of the rotation. He started all 58 games he played after signing with the Trail Blazers last season, but at 36, faced the bench issue again this season. “I had to swallow that pill,” Anthony said.
The move has suited him. Anthony is averaging 13.6 ppg in 24.8 minutes and shooting 40% on 3-pointers, just a tick shy of his career high. Pro-rated to 36 minutes, Melo is basically Melo averaging 19.8 points on 16.8 shots.
Anthony said his comfort level in Portland and rapport with teammates such as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum eased the decision. “It was just coming to a mutual agreement about what the situation would be,” he said. “And … just going out there and wanting to play basketball. Wanting to be a part of what’s happening. To be a major part of our team’s success.”
There is no doubt that Anthony is enjoying his role as the savvy veteran with this Trail Blazers’ team, and conversely, Portland has benefited from preserving Anthony’s legacy upon his return to the league.
You can read the entire piece here.