Hawks’ Vince Carter reacts to Carmelo Anthony’s early returns with Blazers
Melo is averaging 15.9 points and 5.6 rebounds with the Portland Trail Blazers, something that Carter views as confirmation that he still has the chops to play in the league:
“I think it’s great,” Carter told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I mean his game is definitely (still NBA worthy). He can do a lot of good things, and you’re seeing immediately that he belongs in the league, his game belongs in the league. He still has a lot left in the tank to play.
“I guess for him (in the past), it was just ‘Could he buy into what is asked from teams for him to get back in?’ Obviously he found the right team that is still giving him the chance to not only play a lot of minutes but to start, and he’s taking advantage of it.”
Part of this successful stint is the respect the Blazers organization showed Anthony, asking rather simple things of him and allowing him to do what he does best instead of morph his game into something it’s not — which happened with the Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who trotted him out like a glorified role player.
Melo is still allowed to take his signature pull-up jumpers and take advantage of mismatches, though he is no longer depended on as the primary scorer. New teammates Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have given him freedom and confidence — two things he hasn’t had since leaving the New York Knicks in 2017.