Lakers News: Carmelo Anthony Motivated By Being ‘Best Sixth Man’
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony is not the player he once was. He is no longer a perennial All-Star or a 20 point per game scorer, but he can still play a role of tremendous value to the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the Lakers’ first regular-season game, Anthony played the most minutes off the bench of any other player. He put 26 minutes of work on the court, scoring nine points on 3-for-9 shooting while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists.

Through one game, it appears as though Anthony will be the Lakers’ sixth man moving forward. This puts him in contention to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, something that he’s not considering a motivational factor right now. “It’s different. You can have that mentality,” Anthony said of the award. “Kind of forces you or pushes you to play at a high level every night and not look in front of you or beside you… Understanding what I have to do in those roles in order to help this team.

“So in my mind, it’s not about winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. It’s about being the best sixth man for our team. If that’s the case. Knowing that I have something to look forward to night in and night out knowing I’ve got to come in fully prepared.”

In Anthony’s first regular-season game as a Laker, he was a minus-5 in a game that the Lakers lost by seven. It’s hard to come to a complete judgment off of one game, but for Anthony, shot selection was the main issue. Because he is no longer the player he once was, he needs to adjust his offensive game plan accordingly.

If he wants to be the best sixth man he can be, he’ll need to be more cautious with his shots. If he shares the floor with Anthony Davis, LeBron James or Russell Westbrook, it would make sense for him to avoid shooting contested midrange shots.

A few years ago, that shot would be right up his alley. But now, it takes away from the team’s ability to run an offensive scheme, especially if any one of the Big 3 is on the court with him.

Anthony absolutely can win Sixth Man of the Year — even if that’s not what motivates him — but he’ll need to change his role ever so slightly from what he was doing with the Portland Trail Blazers the last two seasons.

Standing ovation made Anthony feel at home

Part of the explanation for Anthony’s Opening Night shot selection could be the adrenaline he felt from the Lakers’ home crowd. When he checked in for the first time, he received a massive standing ovation from the fans.

Anthony spoke about the warm welcome. “I felt right at home. I felt comfortable coming right in playing and just hearing the fans cheer for me the way they cheered and stand up and give that ovation. That always makes me feel good, it makes you feel comfortable, makes you feel confident.

“Especially coming from Lakers fans because I battled with the Lakers so many times for many years, so for them to be cheering for me wearing a Lakers uniform, it’s a different feeling.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Lakers Receive Zero Votes To Win 2020 NBA Finals In ESPN’s Offseason Survey

The 2019-20 NBA season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in a very long time as after all of the offseason moves…

Pau Gasol Says He Prefers European Style of Baksetball

In a recent interview with French publication L’Equipe Pau Gasol said he…

Breaking News: Mike Brown Officially Hired as Lakers Head Coach

After much deliberation the Lakers have hired Mike Brown as their next…

Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Looking To ‘Keep The Game Simple’ After 10-Turnover Game

Russell Westbrook secured his first triple-double as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday…