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Melo Thunder Experiment

The Thunder were built with a championship in mind this season. The problem was the system that coach Billy Doanavan decided to run.  With Paul George contract expiring and his status uncertain. Altought he has publicily said he would like to return next season. Carmelo Anthony did not appear to be comfortable with the offensive schemes.  What in the world to do about Carmelo Anthony, after a first-round exit at the hands of the Utah Jazz, especially in a season in which the Thunder were allegedly contenders.

In the two days since the Thunder were bounced out of the first round, Anthony has already made it clear coming of the bench is not an option. Calling it “out of the question.” Now, he’s taking a step further, saying that the Thunder didn’t have any type of plan regarding bringing him in.


“I think the player that they wanted me to be and needed me to be was for the sake of this season, “Everything was just thrown together and it wasn’t anything that was planned out. Wasn’t no strategy to me being here, me being a part of the actual system and what type of player and things like that.”

He probably isn’t wrong. The problem is that he wasn’t even the player they needed him to be “for the sake of this season.” Anthony averaged 16.2 points per game this year, a career low. His 1.3 assists per game were also a career low, and his 5.8 rebounds per game were the lowest since the 2005-06 season. In the playoffs, he averaged 7.3 points per game, shot 21.4 percent from beyond the arc, 37.5 percent from the field, had 0.3 assists per game and a turnover per game. All of that put together made for a player that simply looked unproductive, and downright awful in the postseason.

Now the Thunder are nearly inevitably on the hook for Anthony’s $28 million player option next season, which he’d have to be a maniac to not pick up, because he likely wouldn’t get a quarter of that on the market — let alone on a contender — after the year he had. The Thunder could take the calculated risk of strong-arming Anthony out by saying that they plan on using him off the bench next season, forcing him to try to leave to take a starting role elsewhere, but this is what agents are around for. To make sure players don’t fall into traps like that. The more likely scenario is that Anthony opts into the contract and makes the upcoming offseason a living hell for the team.

This looks like more of the Russel Westbrook effects. Learning to play with Carmelo and Paul George. This off season will be interesting for the Thunder


Vernon McKenzie: PureSportsNY


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