Portland Trail Blazers: Carmelo Anthony is prepared for new role at SF

Carmelo Anthony ready for a new role with Portland Trail Blazers

There are many that don’t shy away from criticizing Carmelo Anthony. He’s struggled to fit in the modern NBA and was practically out of the league entirely until the Portland Trail Blazers signed him in November.

Even though Melo didn’t look like his former all-star self, he did help the Blazers in the midst of injury woes. Melo started 50 games for the Blazers, averaging 15 points and six rebounds on 43 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent shooting from 3- point range. Playing at the power forward position, he gave the Blazers versatility and depth at the position.

However, with both Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic returning from injury when the NBA restarts, Melo’s role with the Blazers was naturally in question. It appears that Melo was prepared, though. Melo has reportedly slimmed down as is ready to play small forward for the Blazers when the season resumes.

[via ESPN]

Anthony is noticeably slimmed down from what he looked like during the season, and it was sparked by an anticipated position change upon the returns of big men Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. Anthony has been starting at power forward for Portland, continuing at the position he adjusted to playing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But with the Blazers returning two other starters for the NBA restart, Anthony is sliding down a spot to the position he played for the majority of his career.

The small forward position is where Melo became a star in the NBA. However, in large part because of his defensive inabilities, in the modern NBA, it became almost impossible for him to play the position at a high level.

In an attempt to offset his issues on that end of the floor, Melo has dropped some weight in hopes of allowing him to be more of a helpful defender. The hope is that it works. For a team that needs help at the position, having Melo slide to the small forward position could be a real blessing.

Trevor Ariza opted out of the NBA’s restart, and likely would’ve seen minutes at small forward. His absence opens the door for Melo.

Teams are expected to begin scrimmaging against other teams this week (July 22) and the eight seeding games are slated to begin July 30. The Blazers enter the restart 3.5 games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference and need to remain within four games of the eighth seed in order to enter a play-in playoff tournament.

If they’re going to do so, they’re going to need Carmelo Anthony to continue his swell play from the regular season. This time, though, it will have to come from the small forward position.