Cover your eyes and ears if you’re a New York Knicks fan. Carmelo Anthony will officially be starting at the power forward spot for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That’s according to Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, who announced the news to reporters on Tuesday. This comes after years — like, almost Anthony’s entire career — of wondering why the high-scoring forward wouldn’t agree to play his natural position.
Anthony did play the majority of his minutes between 2012 and 2014 at the 4 spot with the Knicks, and indeed those were some of his most productive years both in terms of offensive rating and VORP. Anthony led the league in scoring in 2012-13 from the power forward position. Carmelo has also played at the 4 in order to play with Team USA in prior contests with the national squad.
It has long been the desire of many New York fans that Anthony play outside of his preferred small forward spot, but he largely refused to do so. In seven seasons with New York, outside of the seasons mentioned earlier, Carmelo played no fewer than 69% of his minutes each year at small forward, according to Basketball Reference.
Now, with Paul George already in the mix for the Thunder, Anthony will have to play the power forward position out of simple roster necessity.
For what it’s worth, Anthony has said that he has no problem playing at that spot. It’s certainly better than coming off the bench.
There was always some questions around whether or not this Thunder roster would work, and we were looking forward to a little calamity with the lineups if Carmelo wasn’t willing to play his role. With three high-usage players in Russell Westbrook, George, and Anthony, it was shaping up to be a fun season in Oklahoma City matter what.
But of course, the flipside of that is that Westbrook has played with high-profile, high-usage players before. With George at the 3 and Anthony bullying people at the power forward position, the Thunder could be a dangerous enemy out west.
By Dane Carbaugh