Carmelo Anthony has been in the news more so than usual lately, which is quite strange considering at the moment he’s not playing basketball for money. He’s been on somewhat of a publicity tour, promoting shoes and openly speaking on all the drama which nearly engulfed him last winter.
Recently, Anthony sat down with SI.com’s Zach Lowe to speak on a number of issues, the lockout among them. But the most interesting sequence came when the two began to banter about defense:
SI.com: You know that Nuggets coach George Karl called you out about your commitment to defense.
Anthony: Once I left.
SI.com: Yeah. But he’s not the only one. Other people have questioned whether you have really bought in on defense. Is that fair?
Anthony: I was in Denver playing for George Karl for six-and-a-half years, and anything he asked of me, I did. If it was “go out and average two more rebounds per game,” I did it. It was “play harder on defense,” I did it. If it was “go out and score 40 points,” I did it. For him to come back after I left and say something like that, considering how sensitive everything was at the time, it was very strategic.
SI.com: But do you think the criticisms of your defense have merit? Is there one thing on that end you worked to improve on in the offseason?
Anthony: Look, defense is about energy and focus at the end of the day. I can’t see any team or any coach just coming out and saying, “Oh, we’re just gonna come out and run every play at Melo.” I never saw that before. I think [Karl] was being strategic in what he did and what he said. In Denver, we weren’t always known for being a defensive team, but that’s because we were running up and down the court. Like I said, I take it for what it’s worth. I store it in the back of my mind.
The whole piece should be digested by every Knicks fan, but that snippet really stands out. I don’t know what to make of it: Is he being ignorant, not “man” enough to stand up and acknowledge his obvious deficiencies? Or is what he’s saying correct, and have the nation’s perceptions taken on a life of their own? Either way, I appreciate the honesty. Give it a read.