Carmelo Anthony spoke his mind and clapped back at the critics after he decided to opt into the last year of his hefty contract.
The point of his Instagram post is self-explanatory. He’s advising fans to mind their business and to stop investing so much time in something that has no bearing on their life. He wants them to think about the things that matter.
Whether you agree with Melo’s decision or not, it’s his to make.
The criticism of Anthony hasn’t necessarily been about the way he’s played, but his comments during the exit interviews are what sparked it all.
“I’m not sacrificing no bench role,”
Were the magic words to agitate an entire fanbase.
This validated what we already knew about Anthony. It showed throughout the season, especially during crucial junctures of the first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, in which the Thunder lost.
Although selfish it was his truth and done at the best possible time. Not once did he barge his way into the limelight during the regular season. Not once did he publicly voice his frustration until the season was concluded, during the exit interviews when he’s technically supposed to do so.
In today’s era of political correctness, the desire for authenticity is at an all-time high. So, when Melo does exactly that, why criticize him?
Truth: Melo does not need to start. Also, truth: Melo should be more open to taking a lesser role, honestly, to help his legacy. Those things you can criticize him for but give him some credit for keeping his head straight during the entire season.
Believe it or not, the Thunder need Melo.
I agree with him on one front. Billy Donovan didn’t do the best job of maximizing his talent. Clearly, he’s not the same player we remember from Denver. He isn’t even the player we saw for most of his New York tenure. But he’s no slouch averaging 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in the worst statistical season of his professional career. There is a place for Carmelo Anthony on OKC’s roster.
Many Thunder fans and media members want Anthony traded this offseason. Instead, we need to push more for general manager Sam Presti and head coach Billy Donovan to persuade him to sacrifice that bench role for the team. Why? Because the Thunder need him.
While coming off the bench would be uncharted territory for a man who once was the most dominant scorer in the league, he should take note of what Dwyane Wade has done with his career. Wade has shifted his role and stretched the relevancy of his career a few years longer by coming off the bench.
Anthony could be the outright leader of OKC’s second unit, the number one option and a possible Sixth Man of the Year candidate. He can help an offensively delinquent unit get some buckets in crucial moments. He can resurrect his career and preserve the legs he still has by cutting his minutes down. He can be what he wants to be; an isolation type of player, and he’d be one of the best while doing it, as a sixth man.
Having him come off the bench will free up things for Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Co. by speeding everything up for the starting five. This past season, the Thunder’s starting five could’ve been the fastest, most exciting and defensively stout unit in the NBA but Anthony threw that off. Next season, a starting lineup of Westbrook, George, Roberson, (insert power forward here), and Adams will be much more beneficial and all the bench unit needs is someone like Carmelo Anthony.