On a night where Paul George dropped 36 points on the Trail Blazers, he took a moment to reflect on Portland forward Carmelo Anthony, whom he played with back in Oklahoma City.
George revealed that he looked up to Anthony, both growing up and as a young player in the NBA.
It’s easy to see flashes of Anthony’s playstyle in George’s game. Both love to operate out of the midrange, and while Anthony has his back to the basket more, they both have excellent footwork at the forward position. They’re also both deadly pullup shooters.
When he and George were teammates back in OKC during the 2017-18 season, Anthony laughed when a reporter floated the idea of him coming off the bench. Anthony’s unwillingness to accept a smaller role in OKC no-doubt played a part in the team cutting him after the season. George would go on to finish third in MVP voting with the Thunder the following year. Still, he sang Anthony’s praises as a teammate and as a person.
Flash forward through a rough fit in Houston and even a stint where he was out of the league, and Anthony has now finally embraced a bench role in Portland. He’s struggled a bit (the Blazers have a -3.1 net rating with him on the floor), but he’s still hitting 38.2% of his threes, and he can be a decent second option on offense when one of Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum is off the floor. He even had himself a real moment in the Playoff Bubble last season, scoring 27 points in what would ultimately be a Lakers closeout game to send the Blazers home. If Anthony can continue to hit his spot-up threes and not allow too many defensive lapses, he can still be a contributing NBA player, even beyond his eighteenth season. George believes this to be the case.