Much has been made of the fact that New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony’s struggles in the postseason, but he has at least one person convinced that he will one day win an NBA championship.
Denver Nuggets’ head coach George Karl told reporters before the Nuggets visited Madison Square Garden on Sunday that he believes a championship is in Anthony’s near future.
“I’ve said I feel Melo’s going to win a championship someday,” Karl told ESPN’s Matt Ehalt. “He’s going to figure out that scoreboard and numbers and stat sheets aren’t important, it’s what the team scoreboard and the intangibles in the end that make winners champions.”
So far this season, Anthony has embraced that.
Sure he has put up some gaudy statistics that read: 26.4 points per game (prior to Sunday), 6.7 rebounds and a PER of 23.95 while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor and 43.5 percent from behind the arc, but ‘Melo has also embraced playing team basketball more than at any time in his career.
The results have shown as well as Anthony, who was once often criticized for his lack of leadership, seems poised to be the guy to lead the Knicks to a place they haven’t been since the 1973 season.
Anthony has played MVP-like basketball this year, but he is also playing with a defensive intensity he has never shown in his career. Karl isn’t surprised that Anthony would be focused on holding up his end on that side of the court as he notes that he has always had that in him.
Some guys wilt under the pressure and some guys thrive under it. Before this season, ‘Melo would have fallen into the type of player that couldn’t get it done with all of the chips on the table. But he has not only embraced the pressure of trying to win a championship in the Big Apple, but seems focused on doing exactly that.
There’s a long way to go in both the season and Anthony’s career, but if he keeps this up he just may prove his old coach right one of these days.
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