Assessing why Carmelo Anthony fizzled out with the OKC Thunder

Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
3 of 4

Stars around him

On paper, the 2017-2018 Oklahoma City Thunder was a stacked team.

Russell Westbrook had just averaged a triple-double for a season and was named the league’s MVP. Paul George had come over in a blockbuster trade with the Pacers and Carmelo Anthony was welcomed from the Knicks.

Along with quality pieces like Steven Adams and Jerami Grant, OKC looked like they could make a run.

It all centered around their big three. If they succeeded, the team would follow. Unfortunately, that works the other way too.

While Westbrook and George played to each other’s strengths perfectly, Carmelo looked like an outsider on the court.

Russ and PG made the All-NBA Second and Third teams, respectively, after the season. Anthony, however, had just never gotten accustomed to his new role.

It was his 16th NBA season, he was starting to fight a battle with Father Time while doing his best to figure out a new way to play. With that in mind, it’s really no shocker that things went the way they did.

Paul George and Russell Westbrook were in their prime. Anthony had just entered the twilight years of his career.

The chemistry between the players was great, but when Thunder head coach Billy Donovan floated the idea that Anthony might come off the bench, Melo was not about it.

He straight up laughed at the idea and said he would not sacrifice a bench role.