For the second time in three games, Carmelo Anthony has drawn attention to himself and to Billy Donovan for all the wrong reasons.
This is an underground blog of sorts and unlike Royce Young at ESPN or Erik Horne at newsoksports I can write openly and honestly without any fear of my access being altered by the OKC Thunder.
I did end up watching this game even though Stormy Daniels revealed she spanked Caligula with a magazine on his ‘bottom’.
Here’s my first take in a game in which the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Thunder by a 108-105 score to sweep the four game series…my take is Billy Donovan needs to come to terms with how far Carmelo Anthony has declined as an NBA player and quit hurting his team by playing Carmelo minutes beyond the 20-22 minute range. Also, there’s no reason whatsoever Carmelo should be on the floor at the end of games when it’s obvious he’s having horrible nights like in Boston and like last night versus Portland. When a vet pitcher doesn’t have his stuff, you know what a good baseball manager does…he gets the guy out of the game and doesn’t cripple the team he’s being paid to manage.
This is absurd like earlier in the season when Abrines was getting all those twenty minute something nights. But to Donovan’s credit—he’s been much more realistic with Alex Abrines’ minutes as of late. And give Abrines credit in that he’s improved and played better with a reduced role.
Here’s the thing…Carmelo is no longer a star player. Not even close. He’s older. He’s slower. The truth be known he’s not even in the same breath with Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams.
In last night’s game, Carmelo was putrid going 3-13 and missing every one of his three point attempts in just under thirty minutes of play.
Heck, last night he wasn’t even remotely close to being OKC’s fourth, fifth, six, seventh, or eighth best player for the Thunder. Those would have been in this order… 4 Jerami Grant, 5 Ray Felton, 6 Corey Brewer, 7 Pat Patterson, and 8 Alex Abrines, 9 Terrance Ferguson. So you know what that means I’m saying, Billy Donovan? Your worst player on the floor last night was Carmelo Anthony and you not only had him on the floor for thirty minutes, but you had him with the ball in his hands in those most important possessions of the game.
You know what that is? Two words…coaching malpractice.
Getting old is a bitch. It sucks. None of us are immune to it. It happens.
But that’s why you have a head coach. That why you pay him $6 million dollars. Namely to orchestrate those 240 minutes every game and to maybe pull an aged former star aside and reduce his minutes and at times his role. Conversely, on nights when it appears there might be a little bounce in his game—you go with Carmelo a little more.
Too late now though in that last night’s loss to Portland sealed the Thunder’s fate of probably now being either a No. 5, 6, or 7 seed once all the dust settles. Last night was huge and not in a good way for the Thunder.
Here’s why I can no longer compare the world champion 2011 Dallas Mavs to this OKC Thunder team… the reason is simple–that team in Rick Carlisle had one of the best NBA coaches around. This Thunder team doesn’t have that in Billy Donovan. I’m not implying Donovan sucks beyond sucking, but he’s nothing special as an NBA coach. Great guy, nicest man in the room, but….. By the way, you know who was an assistant coach on that 2011 Dallas team–Terry Stotts. The same Terry Stotts who now head coaches Portland and will be named NBA Coach of the Year at the end of this regular season.