He’s baaack!
NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - November 20, 2019 - 12:00am

There are times when fate plays a prank on us. One day we’re on a roll, the next day we hit a wall.  Things could have been going on smoothly but suddenly, we sail into stormy seas.

Pro sports are not different.  A team could be a contender but by some astral influence, they abruptly spin towards a different orbit.  Important players get injured, badly depleting the lineup thus weakening the team.  The Golden State Warriors is the perfect example.

We’re not talking about GSW here but of another Western Conference team.  On paper, the Portland Trailblazers has a strong frontline with Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Pau Gasol and Hassan Whiteside.  Because of an assortment of injuries, only Whiteside is on active duty and the Blazers badly need the combined per game outputs of 29 points and 19 rebounds of the three inactive players.

We won’t be seeing Collins playing for at least four months, Nurkic probably is out for the season and Gasol is not yet cleared to play.  These are dire times for Portland and they simply don’t want to waste away the talents of Damian Liliard and CJ McCollum.

They badly need help up front to fill the missing piece of the rotation and the Blazers took a gamble on Carmelo Anthony, hoping that he still packs that scoring punch.  The last time Melo played was a year ago, ten games with Houston averaging slightly above 13 points. 

Like Dwight Howard with the LA Lakers, Melo will earn a non-guaranteed pay of $14,490 every day he remains with Portland.  If he survives until January 7, the contract will be guaranteed until season’s end. The way Howard accepted his role with the Lakers, it looks like he will be in Hollywood for the rest of the season.  Hopefully, so too will Melo.

How the 10-time All-Star will fit into the Blazers’ system remains to be seen.  Surely, he will be seeing some significant minutes and could space the floor well thus giving a good scoring option when the defense collapses on Liliard and McCollum.  If he still has the moves, which I think he still has, Melo can do pick-and-rolls and score on one-on-ones.

Melo is a defensive liability but this handicap can be managed if he accepts his support role and realizes the fact that his days as the go-to guy is already gone.  He should reciprocate the confidence Portland had given him and do things that are asked of him.

It’s kind of unimaginable Melo having a hard time finding a home but finally, he’s back.

CARMELO ANTHONY
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