Carmelo Anthony Will ‘Embrace’ Playing A New Position As A Member Of The Thunder

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Carmelo Anthony may not be in his prime anymore but his acquisition by the Oklahoma City Thunder still generated quite a reaction around the NBA world. While he is likely the No. 3 option for his new team, Anthony laughed off the notion that there was any thought to him coming off the bench in an Olympic-like role and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan plainly stated on Tuesday that the former New York Knick will be starting at the power forward spot.

Anthony will slot in between Steven Adams and Paul George in Oklahoma City’s frontcourt and, frankly, that makes a ton of sense. However, fans of the New York Knicks (and even the organization itself) often wanted Anthony to play more power forward in recent years and, at least at times, he was seen as resistant to that idea.

Now, though, Anthony is ready to make the permanent switch, saying he has “no problem with playing the 4” and that he will “actually embrace” the move.

From there, he went on to describe the basketball fit, via Royce Young of ESPN.

“I’ve been playing the 4 almost all my career. Even in Denver, we was one of those teams with George Karl, kinda started going playing that small ball, putting me at the 4, picking up the pace. We kind of started that. And the league wasn’t ready for that at that time. It was all about traditional bigs and power forwards and centers. And now, it’s just whoever. You have 2-guards playing center now, guys 6-foot-5 playing center. So, it really doesn’t matter at what position it is, what spot out there, as long as you fill those spots, as long as you know the offense, as long as you execute, those positions, they don’t matter.”

Anthony is right in indicating he has been a part of “small ball” units, both in New York and Denver, in the past but doing it on a full-time basis is certainly different. It isn’t as if Oklahoma City won’t deploy him at the small forward spot on occasion, with Patrick Patterson serving as a high-quality backup at the 4, but part of Anthony’s perceived slippage in recent years stems from the league getting smaller and quicker to the point where his physical profile leans more toward a frontcourt spot.

All in all, the Thunder’s starting five makes sense on both ends of the floor, especially when considering that both George and Andre Roberson can help Anthony defensively when match-ups dictate. Now, we all wait to see what the semi-finished product looks like as the regular season approaches.