Damian Lillard thinks Blazers could have beaten Warriors last season with Carmelo
Carmelo Anthony has been quite a difference-maker for the Portland Trail Blazers this season, and Damian Lillard wishes that he had arrived sooner.
On Friday, the Blazers guard spoke on Anthony’s impact and gave an interesting take on how the team might have fared with him last year.
“He should’ve been here three years ago,” said Lillard in a nod to Portland’s previous efforts to lure Anthony, per Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report. “We get on his case about that all the time. I feel like we could have been in the Finals last year if we had him.”
If you recall, the Blazers made a surprise run to the Western Conference Finals last season where they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors then fell in the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors in six games.
The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle here — Anthony’s offensive versatility and clutch shooting surely may have swung a couple of the close games against Golden State (two were decided by two points or less). But the Warriors, even with Kevin Durant injured, still had a healthy Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, which would have created matchup problems for Anthony on the other end of the floor.
In any case, Anthony has showed up to play in the Orlando bubble, and the Blazers are now close to overtaking Memphis for the No. 8 seed in the West thanks in no small part to his strong play.