Carmelo Anthony is clearly no longer the player he used to be, but can still contribute especially on this year’s Los Angeles Lakers team.
Anthony will not be asked to score every time down the floor since the Lakers have the luxury of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook to carry the offensive load. However, Anthony remains an elite catch-and-shoot player who should be able to provide spacing for the three stars.
Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka made sure to supplement the roster with enough shooting and he emphasized Anthony is one of the best players in the league when it comes to catching and shooting, which was the main reason they pursued him this summer.
“One of the ingredients that we felt like we really missed last year was just guys that we lasers that could space the floor and can catch and shoot,” Pelinaka said at a recent press conference. “If you look at AD when he gets double-teamed or when teams collapse the paint against LeBron and obviously now with Russell Westbrook, just having, to me, one of the greatest catch-and-shoot guys that has played in recent times. And most of that is just because of his confidence level, I think you can go back to the Olympics when Melo played such an incredible role on that team with just his ability to make open shots.
“I think there’s some players when you play with people like LeBron or Russell, maybe when that open ball is kicked to you, it’s a little bit heavier. But Melo, I don’t think he’s paying attention to who’s throwing him the ball, he’s just getting it and he’s locked in to convert. And then he has other dimensions to his game too, I’m not trying to minimize him into a catch-and-shoot player, but that’s an elite, elite skill he has. And I think the other underrated parts of his game are just he’s still so physically strong and imposing, I think just when he puts his body on players in the post, he can continue to have his way and can continue to be a rebounder with his size. So those ingredients together I think are gonna be a really good fit.”
Like Pelinka, James made sure he recruited Anthony to Los Angeles because of his shooting ability, although the veteran should be able to contribute in other ways as well. Seeing Anthony in Purple and Gold will be surreal, but he will be a valuable contributor throughout the year.
Shaquille O’Neal agrees with Anthony that it is championship or bust
With the team Pelinka has assembled, there is no other desirable outcome than a championship. Anthony himself said it was championship or bust this season and Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal agreed with him.
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