What went wrong in Carmelo Anthony’s last 2 stops?

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Carmelo Anthony

Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony’s last two stops have led to questions as to if he can still play at a high level. But just how much of that falls on his shoulders?

Carmelo Anthony has made a living off of taking (and most times making) shots. Ask Dr. Seuss, and he might explain it like this: Anthony can get buckets in a tree, with a bee, off a pick-and-roll dish, in the ocean with a fish … for number’s sake, only 21 players in league history have amassed more points than the 10-time All-Star.

All told, Anthony has made 9,137 shots in his Hall of Fame career and then an additional 616 in the postseason. But this shot — this trip to Portland — certainly has the feel that it could potentially be his last.

Ink has officially met paper, and the Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a deal that will pay Anthony $14,490 for every day that he survives the day-to-day gauntlet of this new, analytical NBA. The deal is non-guaranteed.

Tuesday’s tilt against the New Orleans Pelicans put an end to Anthony’s 376-day sabbatical from meaningful hoops and in celebration, I took to reading every article and tuning in to as many podcasts as humanly possible. Predictably so, positivity was difficult to come by.

The initial returns were mixed. He missed his first shot — a long mid-range jumper — before draining his second, a 3-pointer. But he finished his 24-minute stint in his first start for Portland with 10 points, four rebounds, a block and five turnovers on 4-for-14 shooting, though he was 2-of-3 from deep.

Citing both Anthony’s rocky one-season run in Oklahoma City, and then his 294-minute sitcom in Houston, analysts all around have long given up on the idea of Anthony contributing winning basketball to a winning team.

Putting everything we’ve learned — both in hindsight and in the heat of the moment — into a blender, we’ll tackle that topic. The Trail Blazers took a 115-104 loss in the Big Easy and have lost four of their last five and are just 2-8 in their last 10 games.

At age 35, Anthony is obviously a player with glaring flaws, some of which we’d taken note of by as early as his rookie season in the league.

The media usually has a few within pocket: Anthony’s iso-centric play style, his aversion to defense (or at least effort) and his lack of postseason success to name a few. When the losses pile up, this makes Anthony the easy scapegoat. But just how subjective are those takes?

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