Carmelo Anthony revived his career in a way no one was expecting this past year. After essentially being blacklisted for a chunk of the season, he landed with the Portland Trail Blazers and proved to be an instrumental part of their late-season run.
Prior to coming to Portland, Anthony spent one year with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017-18. It did not go well. He averaged 16.2 points per outing behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and was largely out of place in the offense.
After a failed campaign with the Thunder, Anthony was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, who subsequently waived him. He then had an unfruitful run with the Houston Rockets, before finding himself without a home.
This week, Anthony appeared on “The Old Man & The Three” podcast hosted by JJ Redick and opened up about his time with Oklahoma City.
“For me personally, I actually really enjoyed my time at OKC,” he said.
“Like, that team, I enjoyed it. Being around those guys, I enjoyed it. You know granted, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. The goal was to win with that team. We didn’t do it. We underachieved.
“And in our minds we’re just like yo listen man, we’re coming back next year, we’re gonna be good,” he continued.
“This is new to everybody. Russ, this is your team, I’m coming off an All-Star year in New York, so I’m like let’s put this all together. It didn’t work out. It all came down to money. I already knew what I was up against…I wish OKC would’ve worked out.”
During the podcast, Anthony also talked about his time with the New York Knicks and why Phil Jackson’s triangle offense never quite translated in the Big Apple.
“When Phil came, it was like, ‘I’m going to do it the way I want to do it,’” Anthony said.
“’I’ve got to bring in personnel that fit the system that I’m trying to run. This guy doesn’t fit into the triangle. I don’t want these types of guys.’ So he started slowly picking the team apart and putting in his pieces that he felt would work in the triangle.”
Unfortunately, the personnel just didn’t mesh.
“We can’t play in a two-guard front when we have Derrick Rose and Raymond Felton,” he continued.
Steve Ballmer is pissed. https://t.co/Dpw2LrO7yx
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 1, 2020
“We can’t do that. You can’t put Derrick Rose in a two-guard front when that’s not his game. We need D-Rose up and down the court.”
That inability to adjust made the Knicks easy to gameplan against.
“When you’re playing that way for all 48 minutes, teams make adjustments, but you’re not making adjustments,” Anthony added.
“You just keep playing that way. The ball will find you, right? Body movement and ball movement. That’s what it is. Wherever you pass the ball in the triangle, that dictates what happens in the offense.
“When you start learning that and start figuring it out from a cerebral standpoint, it’s like, if they make and adjustment we’re done. If they deny the two-guard front, we’re done. If they deny the blind pick, we’re done. So teams started to do that and get smart.”
That hat tho. https://t.co/TXJlLsJBLB
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 1, 2020
At the end of the day, it was just a bad fit all around.
“The personnel wasn’t there,” Anthony concluded.
“But also, Phil wasn’t the coach. Because he wasn’t the coach, it wasn’t going to be run the way he expected it to run.”
Anthony is one of the more interesting players to ever play the game, so any time an interviewer is able to pick his brain, it is always a rewarding experience.
It remains to be seen where Anthony will ultimately find himself next year, but wherever it is – it’ll be must-see TV.