Carmelo Anthony’s first playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder was disastrous. His team was upset 4-2 by a Utah Jazz team that lost its best player last summer. Anthony in particular struggled, scoring 12 points on 38 percent shooting from the field and 21 percent shooting from deep. Fans wanted him off the floor for most it, and that wasn’t all too dissimilar from his fit in the rotation during the regular season. Now, Anthony is leaving the team either through trade or the stretch provision. It’s no surprise why.
Here’s what Anthony said in his exit interview:
“I think the player that they wanted me to be and needed me to be was for the sake of this season,” Anthony said according to the Norman Transcript’s Fred Katz. “Should I say, because it was just so — like I said, everything was just thrown together, and it wasn’t anything that was planned out. It wasn’t no strategy to me being here, me being a part of the actual system and what type of player and things like that.”
“As far as being effective as that type of player,” Anthony added, “I don’t think I can be effective as that type of player. I think I was willing to accept that challenge in that role, but I think I bring a little bit more to the game as far as being more knowledgeable and what I still can do as a basketball player.”
Anthony described his season in OKC as “interesting,” which is a pretty nice way of saying it didn’t go so well. The Thunder hardly made the playoffs (by just two games) despite building a superteam led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Anthony. It’s safe to say that experiment failed.
Anthony averaged a career-low 16 points per game for the year on a career-low 40 percent shooting from the field, only making 36 percent of his three-point shots. His assist totals were at an all-time low (just more than one per game). His role as a starter was questioned midseason, and brought up again on Saturday.
“I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” Anthony said according to Katz. “That’s out the question.”
Regardless of the role he serves, the Thunder are on the hook for nearly $28 million to pay him next season until they find another suitor for him.
This was an ugly end to an ugly season.