Sport Carmelo Anthony’s real problem? He isn’t LeBron James

02:15  21 november  2019
02:15  21 november  2019 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

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Lebron James is happy about Carmelo Anthony being on the Eastern All Stars roster since that doesn' t make him the oldest player on the team anymore!

Our weekly look at four topics — players, issues, numbers, trends — that are impacting and, in some cases, changing the game.

a close up of a sign: (Yahoo Sports illustration)© Provided by Oath Inc. (Yahoo Sports illustration)

First Quarter: ’Melo’s big problem

Carmelo Anthony made a less than ho-hum debut for the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night in his first NBA game in 376 days, scoring 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting with five turnovers and grabbing four rebounds in 23 minutes in a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Nothing he did in a rusty debut was going to change anyone’s mind about whether he can be a dynamic fit in the right place or if he’s a relic from another time, incapable of playing in today’s game on either side of the floor.

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Even though Anthony ’ s career has been depressing lately, prime Carmelo , much like Harden, was That would rank third all-time in postseason scoring average. The problem is that his efficiency James Harden’ s story isn ’ t etched in stone, but he ’ s running out of time to change the narrative. |

Before we start evaluating what he is, let’s remember he’s 35 and the NBA clock on his body started when he was a teenager.

He entered the league when games were slog-filled 75-70 affairs that featured bad shooting that was mistakenly considered the result of good defense. Finding a player like Anthony — a threat from inside and out, capable of getting a bucket at a moment’s notice and having the ability to do it outside the framework of a set offense — was invaluable.

Too big for quick defenders, too quick for bigger opponents, Anthony played at a perfect time — in a way.

Now scores are higher, and a guy who can create on his own, even if he were in his prime, isn’t en vogue. Multi-dimensional players are in demand, and even though ’Melo was an above-average rebounder and could pass, those weren’t consistent parts of his game.

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Carmelo Anthony finally found a team in the Portland Trailblazers and the former All-Star made his debut against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. Before the game, LeBron James shouted out Melo and wished him luck playing in his new number, 00.

Carmelo Anthony is set to return to the NBA with the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. A scout and a This is the real problem for Anthony and if there is a tangible reason that he has not been in the league for He ’ s never really had it and as his career has gone on, the tighter they called hand-checking and all

The problem is Anthony played in the time of LeBron James. They will forever be linked through their friendship, their draft class in 2003, and the banana boat Anthony refused to ride, but most of all, he was usually compared to James.

And that would be an indictment for anyone. ’Melo needed the right system and good point-guard play (Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd, for example) to maximize his gifts. But LeBron was the system.

’Melo wasn’t leaving money on the table in free agency; LeBron sacrificed at times to maximize the bigger picture and win championships.

To James’ Michael Jordan, ’Melo became Dominique Wilkins — a player who even at his best could only hang with the player of his time for moments.

And as basketball Twitter rejoiced in ’Melo’s return to the land of the living, it’s important to remember he’s 35. This should be a victory lap.

But LeBron will be 35 in a couple of weeks, and he’s playing like … LeBron.

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LeBron James got a little snippy when asked if he thought Carmelo Anthony ' s skills had diminished.

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Carmelo Anthony standing in front of a crowd of people watching a football game: Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony works against the Pelicans' Kenrich Williams on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)© Provided by Oath Inc. Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony works against the Pelicans' Kenrich Williams on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Second Quarter: Is ’Melo’s time up?

Anthony shouldn’t be expected to help save Portland, a team that’s gone from the Western Conference finals to second-to-last in the conference.

Can he help?

Ehh, maybe.

He can still get his shot, but that doesn’t seem to be the Blazers’ main issue. And since when do we expect players who haven’t been inclined to play defense to all of a sudden change? Besides, there have been very few Hall of Fame-caliber players who were effective in Year 17 or at age 35.

Michael Jordan was finishing up his last championship season in Chicago as a 35-year-old in 1998, but we’re talking about the GOAT here. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still effective in 1983 as a 35-year-old, but his prime was largely extended due to the arrival of Magic Johnson.

There are a few others, but maybe with the exception of Karl Malone, even the best Hall of Famers were clearly lesser versions of themselves at this stage. Even Anthony probably expects too much of himself at this age, but time never loses a battle.

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Maligned for his play on the court, Anthony ' s decisions off the court have been the real problem .

Retirement has been knocking at ’Melo’s door for awhile now, and we should encourage him to answer soon.

Third Quarter: The struggle for black coaches

It’s not as rare these days to see black coaches in the NBA, but as trends change through eras, it always feels like we’re a couple of firings away from lack of diversity being an issue again.

Enter Knicks coach David Fizdale.

Depending on who you believe, Fizdale’s job is in jeopardy or will soon be. The Knicks are underachieving after a summer that didn’t net Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, and the free-agent pieces haven’t yet fit.

If Fizdale is feeling a little gun shy, you can’t blame him. He was fired 19 games into his second season with the Memphis Grizzlies after qualifying for the playoffs his first year.

How’s that for data?

He’s one of eight black coaches in the NBA, and his plight isn’t lost on his players.

They feel it, and they try not to carry the extra weight when turmoil is around.

“I wouldn’t use it in that sense, as in fighting for a black coach, but [Fizdale] relates to me a lot more than a lot of other people do,” Knicks forward Marcus Morris Sr. told Yahoo Sports recently. “That means a lot to me personally, the way we talk, the place he comes from, what he’s been through. We have that relationship where he cares about guys’ well-being. Around this league, you don’t see that, white, black, no matter what you are.”

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  Three Things to Know: For better and for worse, ‘Melo was ‘Melo in his Portland debut “It felt great to be back into the flow of the game, be back on the court, be back to where I think I belong at."1) For better and for worse, ‘Melo was ‘Melo in his Portland debut. For Carmelo Anthony optimists — watching this game through their special-issue, “Carmelo can do no wrong” glasses — there were positives to point to.

Lakers star LeBron James has already said he would want Carmelo Anthony — who is a free agent — to join in him L.A. if the chance arose. He went a little further during a sit-down interview with ESPN’ s Rachel Nichols that will air at halftime of the Lakers-Warriors game on Christmas Day.

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Morris took some satisfaction in the trust Fizdale gave him, as Morris isolated late against the Dallas Mavericks last Thursday for a step-back three that gave the Knicks a win — and Fizdale seemingly a stay of execution.

That coach-player relationship, as adversarial as it may seem, does produce camaraderie. And black coaches, fair or not, often get tagged as “players’ coaches”, whatever that means.

So when it’s good, players fight harder.

“Hell, yeah,” Morris said. “He’s a big reason why I came here. When he’s going through that and putting forth the effort to turn stuff around, it means a lot. It’s not we’re sitting back. We practice like a motherf- - - er, we’re in here and going hard. We trust him. I trust him. We’re gonna turn this thing around.”

Tristan Thompson with a football ball: Things aren't going as planned for Julius Randle and the Knicks. (AP/Frank Franklin II)© Provided by Oath Inc. Things aren't going as planned for Julius Randle and the Knicks. (AP/Frank Franklin II)

Fourth Quarter: The Knicks’ big issues

Here’s a thought on Fizdale and the Knicks.

The Knicks are a punching bag, with 20-plus years of flirtations, near-misses and controversy. Adding the news conference called by team president Steve Mills to express disappointment shouldn’t necessarily be added to the ledger.

Nobody expected the Knicks to be good this season — maybe not even team owner James Dolan. But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a standard of competition on a nightly basis.

It’s not so much the losing that seemed to cause alarm to the Knicks’ decision-makers but the “how” — dropping games in blowout fashion to the equally rebuilding Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers seemed to trigger things.

Carmelo Anthony has turned Trail Blazers run into much more than a pity stop

  Carmelo Anthony has turned Trail Blazers run into much more than a pity stop The 35-year-old forward has helped Portland to a three-game win streak.

Ever since LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers, many thought he would do whatever it took to get Carmelo Anthony to the purple and gold. James also said that he had hoped the Lakers would’ve taken a chance on Anthony when their injuries were piling up last season, but that he ’ s just

Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are back in the NBA (Image: GETTY). Doncic isn ' t the final package yet, which is scary for a number of reasons. His ability to run an offense is incredible, and he seems to have no problem hitting shots from anywhere on the court, no matter the situation in-game.

Fizdale doesn’t have a go-to guy on the roster, so shuffling rotations and figuring out who should be playing aren’t the easiest tasks.

The front office is culpable, too. A lot of this would’ve been alleviated had it acquired stability in the form of a point guard this offseason. Elfrid Payton is hurt, but could he provide the necessary leadership to bring together a deep group of players who have different roles every night?

More falls on Julius Randle, who’s trying to create plays with clogged lanes and increased pressure. Turning him into a secondary playmaker could alleviate that, but that would require more from the point guard spot.

The Knicks are walking the delicate balance of not handcuffing themselves financially with long contracts, while developing the young players they’ve hit on the recent drafts (RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson).

There’s a method to the madness, even amid the noise. For it to make sense, the youth has to develop and be given room to do so while the well-paid, short-term veterans provide enough leadership and help win a few games.

The plan sounds good. The execution hasn’t met the plan so far.

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Carmelo Anthony would have retired rather than ask LeBron James for help joining Lakers .
Carmelo Anthony would have retired rather than ask LeBron James for help joining LakersThat friend was Carmelo Anthony, and it turns out he was very close to calling it a career months later, despite having an important ally on one of the NBA’s premier teams.

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