• News.Carmelo Anthony returns to the NBA

After a year of forced exile, begging for favors and even a place in a team that nobody wanted to go to, Carmelo Anthony has found his penultimate opportunity in the NBA . The New York forward will sign an unsecured contract with the Portland Trail Blazers to try to earn the right to be the one who decides when he ends his career. Can the NBA have changed so much to leave out one of the most prolific scorers in history? Anthony reminds us that yes.

Carmelo Anthony is the player who after a lifetime being the star (ten times All-Star, 19th historical NBA scorer) does not accept that time passes for everyone - unless you are LeBron James -; It is the old glory that, when he finally agrees to step aside, does not adapt to that secondary role - Vince Carter there is one. But above all it is the star that has seen how everything changed around him and he was left without a floor under his feet.

Anthony grew up with an NBA in which the one-on-one in the middle distance and the post were the diet of the great scorers. So were the nineties and the first 2000, but the analytical revolution has shown that there are better ways of doing and that are far from the style in which Carmelo Anthony made his homeland. It had become the image - and sometimes a cartoon - of what is wrong.

'Victim' of evolution

When Carmelo Anthony arrived in the NBA in 2003, the teams played an average of 90.1 possessions per game . Today, the pace has shot up to 102.2, and some exceed 107. In that NBA, 18.7% of the shots that were attempted were three. This season, the triple ratio is exactly double, 37.4%. On the other hand, the volume of shots from the middle distance has increased from 35.6% to 13.7% and the trend continues to decline.

In summary, the NBA is much faster today than when Anthony began his career , a player who was never especially athletic and has always liked to knead the ball; premium outside shot, a problem for a forward with slow feet in defense; and corner the middle distance to punctual resource when for him it was a main route of feeding. Everything has evolved against him.

Two failures sounded

Nor has his attitude helped. Two seasons ago, shortly after arriving at the OKC Thunder , he laughed ironically when he was raised that perhaps the best thing for the team would be to leave the bench. The scene was repeated several times, even after falling eliminated in the first round of playoffs against some Utah Jazz that made target with him: they exploited so much his weakness in defense that Billy Donovan left him on the bench to play the last quarter of a game that They needed to win to stay alive. His best option was without him.

But Anthony redoubled his refusal: " I do not intend to sacrifice and leave from the bench . I have to think if I really want to finish my career as this type of player knowing that I have so much gas and everything I have given to basketball. I became who I am playing with a style throughout my career. "

That the Thunder wanted to get rid of him at any cost made him see that the danger was real. That's why, and because his close friend Chris Paul made a liaison, he finally agreed to leave the bench with the Houston Rockets , and even seal his peace with Mike D'Antoni , who forced him out of the Knicks because he didn't want to adapt to the style towards which the NBA evolved.

But that ended up being the beginning of the end: the Rockets' defensive system, which relies heavily on changes in position, only emphasized their problems behind; and in attack, although he did his best to adapt, it never became effective. At 10 games, the franchise informed him that it was not working and probably would not. The bad results of the team accelerated the decision.

Forced exile

Anthony spent a few months away from the team - for sports, not disciplinary reasons - until he was found out through the back door. Last January he was seen as a fan of Madison Square Garden for the tribute to his friend Dwyane Wade and received the affection of what was his home, but he remained apart.

During these months many players publicly claimed their return, but no one took the step. LeBron James, another of his intimates, ajar the Lakers door, but never got the go-ahead. It was nothing personal, just business.

Because over time Carmelo Anthony's problem was not only to adapt to a league that has evolved against him, but the weight that has his name tied: any decision taken by a team was going to stir up a stir.

Anthony spent the summer playing pachangas against NBA stars. Friends like LeBron, former classmates like James Harden or Russell Westbrook , or a future one, CJ McCollum.

The Blazers , which last year reached the Conference Finals , have started the season well below expectations. They have only won four of the first 12 games. In addition to the numerous casualties in the inside game - Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Pau Gasol - the lack of production on the wings leaves too much weight on Damian Lillard and McCollum's shoulders.

That's why Carmelo Anthony arrives. His fit back in a team with problems in defense is unclear, but the need is mutual. In the worst case, it is an unsecured contract: Melo will be on trial until January 7 . If it doesn't work, it will come out the back door again. Maybe from his last train in the NBA.

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