Portland Trailblazers star Carmelo Anthony is nearing the end of his career. Nonetheless, he is one of the key reasons behind Portland’s playoff fight. He performed his role as a tertiary scoring option (behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum) perfectly. There are two other reasons behind this. First, a commitment to a smaller role. Second, a renewed focus on his fitness.
His focus on fitness continued through the last few months without any basketball to play and he has returned looking noticeably slimmer. Melo addressed his change to reporters in the bubble. “We had so much time off that we didn’t know what was going on. I had the opportunity to play with my diet or workout and training. Again, we didn’t know what was going to be the outcome of us coming back. After we stopped in March, I just kept it going, kept working, stayed on my diet because I didn’t wanna get behind.”
He also spoke about how this change was motivated by the return of Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic to the team, as he will move to the small forward position. “When coach told me I’ll be going back to the three, it challenged me to get down to that weight ever I feel comfortable playing the three and comfortable running around and utilizing things that I can utilize within those sets from playing at three. That was also a big motivation to come back at that exact weight, 230 or 235, something I haven’t seen since early in my career. Now it puts me back in the mindset of that from a confidence standpoint that I was able to get back to that.”
Portland Trailblazers with Carmelo Anthony
Melo started his 17th season in the league without a job before Portland picked him up to replace Zach Collins. He is averaging 15.3 points on 44.7% from the field and 37.1% from three. He has 6.4 rebounds, but his assists are down to 1.6 a game.
The former scoring champion was out of the league after two bad seasons in Houston and Oklahoma. He has rebounded in Portland. Melo is one of the main reasons for Portland’s playoff push and will be looked to contribute in the bubble.