So if that's not happening, it means that either Anthony or Paul George, both of whom have played the majority of their careers at small forward, will have to slide over to the four. On Tuesday, Thunder coach Billy Donovan ended the suspense, unequivocally stating that Anthony will start at power forward.
Billy Donovan on if Melo is indeed starting: “He’s going to start the power forward spot for us. That’s what he’s going to do.”— Royce Young (@royceyoung) September 26, 2017
"I have no problem with playing the 4," Anthony said, via ESPN. "I actually like that, I actually embrace that. And for this team, I think it will be better."
This is a big deal because Anthony has resisted playing the power forward in recent years, even though his size, strength and shooting ability make him better suited to be a stretch-four in the modern NBA. The Thunder's roster is much more equipped to have Anthony as a power forward than the Knicks, given the size of their starting lineup.
Shooting guard Andre Roberson, one of the best defenders in the NBA, is a rangy 6-foot-7 and can legitimately guard four positions. That means that Roberson, Anthony (6-8) and George (6-9) will essentially be able to mix and match when it comes to which players they guard, so Anthony will rarely see cases where he's forced to guard a prolific scorer. Plus Anthony will likely get significant minutes leading the second unit while George and Russell Westbrook rest, meaning he could still log a lot of time at small forward with Patrick Patterson manning the four.
The revamped Thunder have a lot of adjustments to make this season, and finding a way for George and Anthony to share minutes effectively is at the top of the list.