Carmelo Anthony’s Trainer Talks Adjustment To Current NBA

After the Trail Blazers inked Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed deal, his year-long absence from the NBA ended but it remained to be seen what he had left. The early results have been positive as Anthony has shown flashes of the ability that made him a likely Hall-of-Famer.

Anthony, 35, is averaging 17.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG through six games for Portland with the team going 3-3 during that stretch. The 10-time All-Star has had some strong performances, including a 25-point outing against the Bulls on Monday and 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting versus the Thunder on Wednesday.

It was a tumultuous journey for Anthony before his return, as his trainer Alex Bazzell detailed to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Bazzell spoke to Anthony’s in-game adjustments on both sides of the ball and the perception higher-ups had of his value versus the distraction he might be.

Check out some highlights:

Bazzell on Anthony changing his playing style:

“He’s gone 95% of his career where he’s been able to catch the ball, turn, face, have time. He’s never really been the guy that’s setting a ton of ball screens and popping and making quick decisions. So it’s new for him. But it’s something he worked extremely hard on. He understands. He’s not the type of guy who is bullheaded the way people want to portray him. He understands he has to adjust his game for the new style and he’s got to make some sacrifices to be on a team and contribute the way a team wants him to and he wants to.”

On his conversations with higher-ups about Anthony’s value:

“I had talked to a couple assistant GMs and GMs and the whole thing was that it wasn’t about his play. It wasn’t even about him personally. But it was about the media attention that was going to follow him, like the questions that were going to come every day: Is he happy? Is he getting enough shots? Is he good in the role he’s in? So a lot of teams that, not to his fault, they just thought it was too much of a media distraction to have to deal with early in the season. I think the whole mystique of ‘Melo hurt him.”

On how Anthony felt after his return to the NBA:

“We talked a little bit after the game. He’s actually pretty happy with how it went. There’s obviously a lot of emotion involved, a lot of expectations when you have so many people vouch on your behalf on social media and what’s been going on for the last year. You almost feel a need to live up to those expectations right off the bat. It’s just like anything else. All these dudes are human. They need time to really get acclimated, get comfortable.”

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