While it’s great news for Anthony, the move has received mixed reviews from those in Portland. Jason Quick of The Athletic views the signing as a “why not?”-type move for the Blazers, writing that even if Carmelo can provide some offense, he’s unlikely to help the team on the defensive end, which Quick argues has been the source of many of Portland’s problems in the early going. The longtime Blazers beat writer adds that the signing seems “forced” and “desperate,” though he acknowledges that it will at least make things more interesting after a disappointing start to the season.
While I agree with Quick to some extent, I’d point out that the Blazers haven’t been much better on offense (15th in NBA in offensive rating) than defense (19th) through 12 games. I do think they could benefit from adding more offense at the forward spots.
Outside of Rodney Hood, the club has gotten very little out of its forwards so far, with offseason additions Kent Bazemore (8.2 PPG on .358/.340/.667 shooting), Mario Hezonja (5.5 PPG, .319/.320/.824), and Anthony Tolliver (3.2 PPG, .244/.242/.778) all struggling on offense. Anthony gives Portland a more dynamic scoring option in its frontcourt.
Here’s more on the Carmelo signing:
- John Hollinger of The Athletic and John Canzano of The Oregonian make similar arguments to the one put forth by Quick. Hollinger is skeptical that Anthony can help the Blazers, but admits there probably weren’t better options out there, while Canzano considers the signing a “Hail Mary” that will make the Blazers’ season more compelling, even if it doesn’t ultimately work out.
- It may be in Anthony’s best interests to emulate Dwight Howard, writes Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. Howard, once a perennial All-Star, has accepted a modest, complementary role and is thriving with the Lakers this season. It’s possible Anthony could have a similar trajectory in Portland if he’s willing to accept his limitations.
- Whether or not his stint with the Blazers goes well, Anthony deserves this shot after all he’s done in his NBA career, says Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Zillgitt adds that it’s a low-risk move for the Blazers, who could simply release Carmelo by early January without guaranteeing his full-season salary if things don’t work out.