Sixth man of the year candidate?
Heck, why not!?
Trail Blazers veteran and future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony showed that even if his name isn’t being announced in the starting lineups, he’s going to bring the oomph.
Melo was cooking early.
Melo came off the bench for eight of his 10 games with Houston in 2018, but now he'll be adjusting to a full-time bench role this year with Portland.
“I don’t know what that role is supposed to be, but I accept it,” Melo said following the Blazers 127-102 victory.
Melo has said multiple times over the past two weeks that he has come to terms with his new role.
And clearly, he has.
The 36-year-old entered the game at the 7:01 mark of the first quarter and promptly hit a three-point attempt with an assist from Damian Lillard.
Yep, it took Melo just 22 seconds to strike on the offensive end.
Making a major impact on the second unit is what Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has in mind for Melo this year.
“Melo coming off the bench and scoring his 10 or 12 right away was good to see,” Stotts said postgame.
The Trail Blazers veteran finished with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting including a perfect 3-of-3 from deep.
Melo says he is at peace with coming off the bench, adding, “it’s what’s best for the team.”
Even though Anthony said he approached the game the same way as if he was starting, he admits there were still many differences.
Now that the Blazers are 1-0 in the preseason and proved that they can get up plenty of scoring, even though, yes, it’s just preseason, so it’s just exhibition defense -- but the Blazers have one of the best scorers in the league coming off the bench now
That is a big piece of what the Blazers have been missing.
A veteran leader, a consistent scorer, and future Hall of Famer to lead Portland’s second unit – yes, that’s what the Blazers have right now.
And that solidifies the depth and versatility of this squad.
It should also really excite Trail Blazers fans ahead of the regular season.