The best NBA odds for the 2021/22 championship are currently favouring the Brooklyn Nets, but with the recent signing of Carmelo Anthony, how long will it be before the LA Lakers regain their domineering ways?
The path to signing Carmelo Anthony has been a long one, through trade discussions, agency meetings, and inevitability rumours triggered a sense of Deja-vu from when the Lakers chased the superstar forward five years ago. Sure, Melo isn’t the same disgruntled player in his prime basketball years seeking a way out of a franchise, but his value remains. And for that reason, the Lakers agreed to a deal with him during free agency before the official announcement he was signing with them this past Friday.
Superstars aren’t always created through generosity, and Melo’s self-focus on the court has made him a star during playoff runs in multiple franchises. Still, he has also seen him left without a team because of an NBA league that’s powered on analytics.
Melo’s arrival to the Portland Trailblazers proved his willingness to adapt his efforts to a modern style. Before Portland, most of his field-goal attempts were long twos, but his focus on three-pointers is evidence of his evolution across the two years spent on the Trailblazers.
However, joining the LA Lakers will provide an entirely different challenge. The Blazers are undoubtedly a competitive team, but title aspirations weren’t half as likely as it will be playing for the Lakers. Aged 37-years-old, Anthony has a realistic opportunity to win an NBA title, and we should assume it’s his last chance to earn a ring.
The Blazers would accept Melo attempting his sometimes-selfish antics on the court, with multiple possessions and forced mid range jumpers with little defence to amend the errors – but the Lakers, coached by Frank Vogel, playing alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis & co. will not!
So, for a second time during his impressive career, Melo will be forced to adapt and make the sacrifices he once learnt to deal with when joining Portland. The defensive play could be the actual test; when he’s called on to mark up, a baseline will be expected, and he’ll need to adjust if he wants a vital role on this team.
Hello Los Angeles
Despite the optimism, there’s no denying that the Los Angeles Lakers’ return to the championship circle just got stronger and brighter with the arrival of Carmelo Anthony.
Rob Penlinka (Vice President of Basketball Operations & General Manager in LA) announced on Friday, Aug.6, regarding Melo’s arrival.
Entering his 19th NBA season since the legendary 2003 NBA draft class, Melo has averaged 23.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and he is ranked #10 on the NBA all-time scorers list – boasting an impressive 27,370 career points.
Although he’s getting up there in age, the 10-time NBA All-Star won the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabber Social Justice Champion distinction this year, taking 13.4 ppg, 3.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, in addition to shooting 40.9% from three-point range as a Trailblazer.
LeBron James has already collected four NBA championships. Still, last season we witnessed the 37-year-old struggle with injury and tragedy, as the Lakers didn’t do well in attempting to repeat the championship-winning status of the previous season. A first-round defeat to a young and inexperienced Phoenix Suns squad could almost be viewed as an embarrassment.
In response, the Lakers have brought on Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and a plethora of diverse talent in attempts to right their wrongs.
We cannot hide from the star-studded Los Angeles line-up, but their respective ages are causing doubt amongst critics because none of them is playing in their prime. I guess we’ll soon find out, but if any two players deserve a championship to cap off their Hall of Fame worthy careers, it’s Melo and Westbrook.
Before his Trailblazers departure, Carmelo Anthony wrote a farewell message for Portland, remembering what they had done for him. They were the first team to take a chance on him following his fallout with the Houston Rockets, something that he’ll never forget.
“Thank you, Portland, for letting me love the game of basketball again,” Melo said. “Thank you for welcoming me into your community and supporting me both on the court and in your city. These two years were some of the most important ones of my career, and for that, I’ll always be grateful.”