Monday Musings: On Melo’s Return, the Spurs’ Coaching Dilemma and Lamar Jackson

This week, our sports editor muses about Carmelo Anthony’s long-awaited return to the NBA, Gregg Popovich’s successor and Lamar Jackson’s case for MVP.

Bela Kirpalani, Sports Editor

Carmelo Anthony Is Back, Baby
After a year away, former New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will be making his return to the NBA — this time with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Sure, the memory of Oklahoma City and Houston’s failed experiments with the forward is fresh in our minds, but the 35-year-old seems poised for a comeback. After a slow start to the season and injuries to Zach Collins and Pau Gasol, the 5-8 Trail Blazers need a scorer who can play now. The 2003 No. 3 pick can be that man for Portland.

When the news was announced on Thursday, players around the league celebrated his return. After a tough couple of years, I’m ready to see Melo silence his critics and show off the skills that he’s been honing in Life Time gyms the past few summers.

We are all ready to see that signature three-point celebration brought back in his first game for the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.

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Stay Melo.

Becky Hammon — Not Tim Duncan — Is the Spurs’ Answer
When San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich was ejected during Saturday night’s game against Portland, it seemed logical for Becky Hammon, the team’s lead assistant coach, to take charge for the rest of the night. Instead, some confusion ensued as it looked like Hammon and assistant coaches Tim Duncan and Will Hardy were sharing coaching responsibilities. The Spurs went on to lose 121-116.

When asked, Popovich later said that Duncan was appointed head coach. If chosen, Hammon would have been the first woman in NBA history to lead a franchise. Popovich, for his part, didn’t seem to care, saying he was “not here to make history.”

Some people took to Twitter to air their concerns with Popovich’s decision. Others celebrated Tim Duncan’s promotion.

While Duncan is a 15-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, he was only hired to Popovich’s coaching staff as an assistant in July. After retiring from the WNBA in 2014 as a six-time All-Star, Hammon began her coaching career with the Spurs. In 2015, she became the first female head coach of an NBA Summer League team and she proceeded to lead the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League title — the first woman to do so in league history.

In recent years, Hammon’s name has been tossed around as teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons conducted head coach searches. With her coaching experience and resume, Hammon should be the clear option to replace Gregg Popovich the next time he is sent to the locker room during a game.

I Don’t Like the NFL, but I Love Lamar Jackson
I don’t watch much football these days because I don’t particularly find joy in watching grown men try to rip each other’s limbs off and suffer serious brain injuries. But I sure do love watching Lamar Jackson tear it up this season for the Baltimore Ravens.

The star quarterback has surely proven his critics wrong, eluding oncoming defenders with his speed and timely jukes, fizzing passes and sick spin moves. On Sunday, Jackson completed 17 of 24 passes, threw four touchdowns and had 86 rushing yards.

On the season, he has 21 touchdowns and 2,738 total yards, leading the Ravens to first place in the NFC North with an 8-2 overall record. And, according to Fox Sports, the 22-year-old is on pace to obliterate Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.

If he keeps this pace, expect Jackson to be holding the MVP trophy at the end of the season.

The Sports Girl is a weekly sports column that features on a girl’s take on sports. Yes, a girl. Yes, sports.

A version of this article appears in the Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, print edition. Email Bela Kirpalani at [email protected] 

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