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Carmelo Anthony will start at power forward for Thunder

Carmelo Anthony will start at power forward for the Thunder this season, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan told reporters Tuesday, per ESPN.

Donovan’s decision brings clarity to OKC’s lineup situation. In addition to Anthony, the team also acquired Paul George this offseason. Anthony and George have been two of the NBA’s’ best small forwards in recent season.

Donovan and Anthony both scoffed this week at the notion of Melo coming off the bench, Donovan stressing, "No, he's going to start the power forward spot for us. That's what he's going to do."

The Thunder are expected to start the season with this starting five: Russell Westbrook at point guard, Andre Roberson at two-guard, George at small forward, Anthony at power forward and Steven Adams at center.

While Anthony resisted playing power forward when he was with the Knicks, preferring instead to play small forward, many see the ‘4’ as his natural position.

Per Pro Basketball Talk: “Anthony did play the majority of his minutes between 2012 and 2014 at the 4 spot with the Knicks, and indeed those were some of his most productive years both in terms of offensive rating and (Value Over Replacement). Anthony led the league in scoring in 2012-13 from the power forward position. Carmelo has also played at the 4 in order to play with Team USA in prior contests with the national squad.”

Anthony said he’s looking forward to playing power forward, a position he’s occupied “almost all my career." When Anthony was with the Nuggets, coach George Karl slid him to the 4 when the team went with a small lineup.

“We kind of started that,” he said of his time in Denver under Karl. “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."

Looking ahead to this season with the Thunder, Anthony added, "I have no problem with playing the 4. I actually like that, I actually embrace that. And for this team, I think it will be better."


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