Carmelo Anthony is obviously not the superstar he once was, but in his 19th season, he is still finding ways to be massively impactful for the Los Angeles Lakers. Alongside LeBron James, Anthony has carved out a role for himself as a spot-up shooter and isolation scorer, two things that have defined success throughout his career.
He is averaging 13.4 points per game on 39.3% from 3-point range and is one of just two Lakers players — Russell Westbrook being the other — to have been available for every game this season.
Chemistry has not been an issue at all, through a famous friendship with James that has spanned the entirety of both of their Hall of Fame careers. James had nothing but good things to say about his first time playing with Anthony.
“He just has a sense of just knowing who he is,” James said of Anthony. “He is not trying to be anything that others think he should be or how he viewed himself in the past. He’s a true definition of an ‘in the moment’ person and he just has a sense of calm and just like ‘this is who I am and this is how it’s gonna go’ aura about him.
“And it’s always just a breath of fresh air to be around every day. Never gets too high, never gets too low or he’s never gonna show you that even if he does. He just knows what he means to this ballclub, he knows what he means to this game at this point in his career and he’s accepted who he is and he’s still great at it. And I’m happy to say that I finally get an opportunity to team up with him for a full season instead of only the Olympics.”
Anthony has been more impactful than many expected him to be, albeit in shorter bursts. In an ideal world, Anthony would be more consistent in a smaller role, rather than have some glaring inconsistency playing 27.4 minutes per game.
Regardless, he has fit in well with the identity of the Lakers roster and has actually been hugely important in helping them shape that identity. When they have everyone healthy and have their complete roster, Anthony should find himself getting about 20 meaningful minutes a night.
But he and James both seem ecstatic about playing together in the NBA for the first time in their illustrious careers.
Vogel praises Anthony’s basketball integrity
James was not the only one to give profuse praise to Anthony. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had plenty to say about the Hall of Fame forward.
“He’s done a great job for us all year,” Vogel said. “He’s brought a great deal of basketball integrity to our team – the care factor with everything he’s trying to do.
“He’s very intentional about knowing what his defensive coverages are, making sure the guys are playing the right way offensively and it’s what some of these coaches were just talking about: his basketball integrity. He’s a real positive force this year.”
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