For the first time in over a year, Carmelo Anthony stepped on an NBA floor as he made his debut with the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
So how did the 10-time All-Star look in his debut?
Time on floor: 5:50
Stats: 5 points, 2-4 FG, 1-1 3-pt FG, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 1 block, 1 foul
Score: Pelicans 15, Trail Blazers 10
- 11:48 - Portland turns it over trying to feed Anthony ball on a post-up on first possession
- 11:13 - Missed midrange 19-footer off curl
- 10:50 - Makes catch-and-shoot made 3
- 8:35 - Turnover on two-man action with Hassan Whiteside
- 8:06 - Receives ball on post-up, draws illegal D on New Orleans
- 7:46 - Makes midrange pull-up
- 6:39 - Deflection and near steal on D leads to Pelicans turnover
- 6:25 - Missed midrange jumper
Portland wasted no time in trying to get Anthony involved, looking to him on each of its first three possessions. During his first stint, he took four of his team's nine shots as his teammates combined to shoot just 1-5. Not only was Anthony leaning into his mid-range game, he showed some aggression in posting up early as well.
Time on floor: 6:10
Stats: 2 points, 1-3 FG, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls
Score: Pelicans 15, Trail Blazers 9
- 11:26 - Draws foul driving baseline
- 10:20 - Missed midrange jumper
- 9:51 - Cuts as roll-man and lays in
- 8:58 - Blocked trying to dunk as roll-man
- 7:21 - Draws foul posting up
- 7:12 - Turnover on bad pass into high post
- 6:05 - Gave up wide open corner 3 on defence
- 5:50 - Offensive foul on perimeter
A very aggressive second quarter for Anthony who drew a pair of non-shooting fouls in addition to taking a team-high three shots while in the game. Within a span of one minute, he had two strong plays rolling as a cutter after setting a screen in pick and roll. Although the second resulted in a blocked dunk attempt, Anthony's aggression is an encouraging sign especially given Portland's potent guards (Damian Lillard did not play on Tuesday).
Time on floor: 5:58
Stats: 0 points, 0-3 FG, 1 rebound, 1 foul, 2 turnovers
Score: Pelicans 16, Trail Blazers 12
- 11:29 - Drives to basket, attempt blocked
- 11:20 - Missed shot on post-up
- 9:54 - Portland turnover trying to feed Anthony in post
- 9:07 - Offensive foul on post-up
- 7:13 - Bad pass turnover leads to fastbreak on other end
- 6:21 - Missed shot on post-up
Once again aggressive, Anthony was unable to capitalize on any of his looks. Although he went 0-3, each of his shots was on a strong move to the basket including the charge against him on a post-up. Anthony went scoreless in the quarter but it was apparent that Portland made an effort to feature him in the post.
Time on floor: 5:39
Stats: 3 points, 1-4 FG, 1-2 3-pt FG, 1 foul
Score: Pelicans 15, Trail Blazers 10
- 11:47 - dribble handoff leads to miss by Anfernee Simons
- 11:06 - strong defensive closeout on a corner 3
- 9:06 - missed 3-pointer
- 8:17 - missed turnaround baseline jumper
- 7:46 - missed layup on strong drive into traffic
- 7:16 - made catch-and-shoot 3
For the fourth straight period, Anthony received a touch on Portland's first possession this time leading to a miss by Anfernee Simons. Although he seemed to get decent shots, Anthony simply couldn't convert until making a catch-and-shoot 3 on his final attempt of the game.
Final stats: 10 points, 4-14 FG, 2-3 3-pt FG, 0-0 FT, 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 5 turnovers, 5 fouls, -20
On the surface, it wasn't a spectacular first outing for Carmelo Anthony who after opening 2-4 in the opening period, missed 8 of his final 10 shots of the game and finished with five turnovers and no assists. The Trail Blazers were outscored in each of his four stints on the floor as he finished with a team-worst minus-20 (no other Blazers player was worse than minus-10).
While the box score will say he finished with no free throw attempts, Anthony was able to draw several non-shooting fouls and an illegal defence as his activity in the post and on drives was noticeable. That he failed to get to the line was not indicative of his overall agression as he routinely looked to attack. It would have been unreasonable to expect Anthony to jump right in with an overwhelmingly positive impact, though his presence was certainly noticeable on a night that Damian Lillard did not play.
While CJ McCollum ultimately led Portland in scoring and FG attempts, it was Anthony that led the team in usage percentage as he finished with a usage rate of 36.5, slightly higher than his single-season career high set with the Knicks in 2012-13. That's unlikely to continue as it was apparent that the Trail Blazers went out of their way to get Anthony comfortable and in the flow as evidenced by working the offence through him on the opening possession of each quarter. Don't expect this level of involvement every time out, especially as Portland welcomes Lillard back into the fold.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.