Even though Russell Westbrook was the highlight of the Los Angeles Lakers summer, Carmelo Anthony has looked like the best move for the team so far during the 2021-22 season.
Despite being in Year 19 like LeBron James, Anthony looks like a rejuvenated man coming off the Laker bench as he has perfectly adapted to his new role as a catch-and-shoot player. In the Los Angeles Lakers’ recent win against the Charlotte Hornets, Anthony exploded for 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The most impressive part, though, was his accuracy from beyond the arc as he drained seven of his 10 attempts from that distance.
On a team that already features players like James and Westbrook, Anthony is going to get his fair share of looks given those two stars require the defense’s attention. As far as his success shooting the basketball, Anthony simply chalked it up to capitalizing on what he is given.
“I’m just taking advantage of it,” Anthony said. “I’m not thinking about it, just playing ball, catching and shooting. I’m not giving the defense a chance to get back out and close out. Just something that I’ve always worked on. People don’t see it, but I always work on that part of my game and you guys are actually seeing it more often now.
“I feel good, I feel like I’m in a great rhythm, feel like I’m just taking advantage of what’s out there on the offensive end. My teammates are believing in me and finding me and they’re leaving it to me to knock those shots down.”
Anthony is no stranger to Staples Center and acknowledged that he has found it to be one of the better arenas to get shots up in.
“I’ve always thought Staples was a good shooter’s gym. Even back in the day, I used to think Staples was a good shooting gym but it’s different when you’re an opponent as opposed to the home team. And now I’m on the other side of that so you get that energy, you get that momentum and you get the crowd behind you, you get your teammates behind you, that’s what we need. That’s the Lakers basketball that we need to play, play hard and get the crowd into it because we want to make this a tough place to come in and play.”
The veteran has been a lifesaver for the Lakers, who are still working through things on both ends as he has sometimes single-handedly kept their offense afloat. Even at this stage of his career, Anthony remains a legitimate scoring threat who keeps defenses honest and provides much-needed spacing on the floor.
Because of how he has looked so far, it is safe to say that the Lakers got a massive steal in signing Anthony to a veteran’s minimum contract. It is hard to expect him to shoot this well over the course of an entire season, but hopefully he continues to knock down shots at a decent clip and keep the Laker offense humming.
Anthony notes difference between Madison Square Garden and Staples Center
Anthony spent a good chunk of his career with his hometown New York Knicks and although Madison Square Garden is as iconic of a basketball venue there is, the forward admitted Staples Center has its own vibe.
“It’s different. When I was in New York, it was a similar feeling but it was a different type of feeling. The energy of the crowd was always there, the intensity of the crowds in New York is different. Portland is a lot different, a little more laid back but they’re passionate, their fans are very passionate and get behind their players.
“Staples has always been different, and also the team that we have. It almost keeps me sharp, I got to stay on top of my game knowing that the personnel that I have alongside me, I have to do what I have to do best in order for us to have a good chance to win it and as long as I do that, I think we’ll be OK.”
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