3 reasons why the Phoenix Suns should sign Carmelo Anthony

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns’ Cameron Payne and Damion Lee. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns’ Cameron Payne and Damion Lee. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Reason #2: Carmelo Anthony brings instant offense to a Suns offense in desperate need of bench scoring

Carmelo Anthony has completely reinvented himself since his career appeared over four years ago. After only playing ten games during the start of the 2018-19 season, he was cut by the Houston Rockets after a dispute over his role on the team.

He was about to be ushered out of the NBA in a way similar to Hall of Fame guard Allen Iverson, who refused to come off the bench as his skills waned. Anthony sounded a lot like Iverson shortly after his Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, scoffing at a question if he would be a better fit coming off the bench – “Yeah, I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” Anthony said. “That’s out of the question.”

Anthony should have played this role on the Rockets or Thunder four years ago. However, the timing was not there. He was not ready to accept a lesser role on a title contender. But his decision to reinvent himself as a sharpshooter coming off the bench has extended his career for at least a few more seasons. He was awesome playing next to LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers last season and before his time there, he was an excellent knockdown shooter on the Portland Trail Blazers.

Now, after two successful stints on the Lakers and Blazers, Anthony is the bench scorer needed to propel the Suns to their first NBA Championship. This is what he told reporters nearly three years after his NBA career appeared to be over.

"“Listen, I’m cool (with not starting),” Anthony said. “Just be transparent with me. I was cool with that decision (in Portland). I’ve never done it before. I’ve done it with (Team) USA before. I’ve done it briefly in Houston for a couple of games, but I had to figure out a way how to motivate myself and keep myself going in a different position in a different role. You’re going 16 years, 17 years and you’re the guy on the team, and you’re the star and then all of a sudden somebody’s like, ‘Listen, come off the bench,’ you know, I had to swallow that ego, I had to swallow their pride, but I also had to use that ego and that pride to keep me on edge and keep me motivated."

Pride goes before the fall and Anthony realized that before it was too late. The Suns will fall even further if they refuse to swallow their pride by addressing their lack of bench scoring.

And yes, the Suns need a bench scorer badly. The unintended consequence of elevating Cameron Johnson into the starting lineup is that he cannot provide instant offense off the bench like he did last season. Johnson, widely considered to be an upgrade over Jae Crowder, has the potential to be an excellent starter in the Suns lineup. With Crowder gone, the Suns lack quality wings who can backup Johnson and Mikal Bridges.

The Suns currently score 25.5 bench points per game. Anthony averaged more than half that number last year, averaging 13.3 points per game in 26 minutes of action. Both Johnson and Anthony attempted a shade under six three-pointers per game last season.

Anthony appears to be the perfect fit for the Suns bench unit. He fills a role similar to what Johnson had last season. Together with new Suns folk hero Damion Lee, the pair can provide a reliable scoring punch off the bench.

But perhaps the best reason has nothing to do with the Suns themselves.