Carmelo Anthony and the Los Angeles Lakers finally connected this offseason after multiple years of rumors surrounding the two sides. Entering his age-37 season, Anthony wasn’t expected to be much more than a scoring punch off the bench.
However, he has absolutely flourished in that role. He is currently shooting a career-high 41.2% from 3-point range and has provided better than expected defense as the team’s small-ball power forward. He’s even played well enough to warrant three starts, already matching his 2020-21 total in the team’s first 28 games.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had profuse praise for the veteran scorer following a 13-point performance in a win over the Orlando Magic.
“I love coaching Carmelo. He’s just steady and does his job,” Vogel said. “He’s low-maintenance, does what we ask him to do. Really competes on the defensive side of the ball which is what everybody said wasn’t his strength.
“He’s really locked into his coverages and giving maximum effort. And he’s a professional shooter. He’s just a big-time shooter. When the ball finds him, you feel like it’s going in every time he shoots it. And then obviously he’s one of, if not our most savvy post player. He’s got the finishing ability and he’s got all the shot fakes, knows how to seal. He’s really giving us a big lift, he’s been a real positive for us this year.”
No, Anthony is not the player he was in his prime anymore. However, he has molded himself into a high-quality role player that can absolutely make a difference on a championship team. For some time, there was legitimate concern that he wasn’t going to be able to make that transition.
Now, Vogel can comfortably play Anthony knowing that his offense will be strong and his defense — while a step slow — can absolutely be a positive in the right matchup.
Even as players like Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn get healthy, there is still a place for Anthony in the rotation. Especially if he continues to shoot career-best numbers from beyond the arc.
Anthony Davis day-to-day
Anthony Davis is another Lakers player that has dealt with injury on-and-off throughout the season, allowing Anthony more opportunities to get big minutes off the bench. However, Davis’ knee appears to be structurally intact, meaning he’ll be day-to-day moving forward.
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