- Carmelo Anthony was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
- While he played well, many players were more deserving of the honor.
- His hollow recognition is a reminder of why it took Anthony so long to find a job in the first place.
Carmelo Anthony proved that his wholly dispiriting start with the Portland Trail Blazers isn’t necessarily a harbinger of what’s to come over the season’s remainder. After failing to make more than 40 percent of his shots in his first three games with Portland, Anthony last week looked far more like the player who masses couldn’t believe was out of a job for a full calendar year.
Helping the Blazers to a perfect 3-0 record, he averaged 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57.4 percent overall and 45.5 percent from three-point range. He was ultimately named Western Conference Player of the Week for his efforts.
But that honor says more about the public’s told-you-so reaction to Anthony’s recent success than it does his actual performance. What it indicates most, though, is one of the main reasons it took so long for the future Hall-of-Famer to find another job after a full year away from the NBA.
Anthony, just to reiterate, played very well last week. His individual numbers speak for themselves, and Portland outscored opponents by a team-high 56 points with him on the floor. It’s that combination that Anthony proved consistently unable to conjure during his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, leaving him sidelined since November 2018 until the Blazers called last month.
But the notion that he was the best or most valuable player in the Western Conference last week is ridiculous nonetheless.
James Harden, for instance, dropped 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday and had 34 points in a victory over the 12-5 Miami Heat three days prior.
Luka Doncic averaged 30.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game while leading the Dallas…