Despite winning Olympic gold this past summer, no one has more to prove next season than Carmelo Anthony.
Coming into his 10th season in the league, Anthony has achieved every worthwhile honor in the NBA besides an NBA title. That is why he bullied his way to the Garden in hopes of achieving this elusive accolade. But he soon learned the high standards of playing at the Big Apple when he was scrutinized early in his tenure with the Knicks when the team was struggling.
Thus far in Anthony’s tenure with the Knicks, the team has underachieve mightily due to the inconsistent play of both Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire and the lack of stability in their point guard rotation. Still the Knick’s number one problem since Anthony’s arrival to basketball’s Mecca, was the lack of a full training camp under Mike Woodson for both Anthony and Stoudemire.
Now that the Knicks will have a full training camp under Mike Woodson and Stoudemire was encourage to work on his post moves this past summer, it’s now or never for Anthony to produce a long playoff run with this team. And Carmelo believes his Olympic Gold focus and conditions will help this team:
“Every time I come back and play USA basketball, my mindset is a lot different,” Anthony said. “The team-oriented atmosphere I bring back to my team, the focus I have, my conditioning, and carrying that into the regular season, it’s like I’m getting an early start. Look at what happened the year after we won the gold medal. In 2009 I had one of my best seasons with Denver and we went to the Western Conference finals. My body felt great, my mind felt great – and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind coming out of USA Basketball.”
Hopefully Anthony can mimic the success he had in 2009 after winning gold in Beijing. And just like Melo said he is getting an early start playing for team USA. While most NBA players are just playing pickup basketball he has been scrimmaging against the NBA best players and facing talented players in FIBA basketball.
Also while playing for Team USA, Anthony was able to work on his versatility playing multiple positions for them:
FIBA basketball allows me to play multiple positions and do a lot of different things out there on the basketball court than I do in the NBA,” he said. “I’m in a different position, I play the 3, the 4, the 5. I don’t play the 5 back in the NBA. Over here, with these guys on the team, it’s more playing off of them, doing some dirtywork, when the ball comes to you trying to knock down shots, rebounding. Most of the times I’m playing against 4s and 5s, and it’s a much more physical game than in the NBA. I won’t be playing the 5 in New York, I know that.”
Although we can all agree that Anthony will not be playing 5, it’s great that he has experience with the situation in case a dire late game situation calls for him to. But Anthony practicing playing off his teammates also allows more of his teammates(mainly Stoudemire) be more involved in the offense–producing more threats in the Knicks’ offense besides Melo.
Overall, Anthony will be better for the Knicks after winning gold because he will motivated to prove he’s just as great (if not better) than his team USA teammates–most of which had longer playoff runs than Anthony.