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The Evolution of Carmelo Anthony

by Photo of Steve Scafidi

Carmelo Anthony has bought in to Mike Woodson’s system and is playing the most efficient basketball of his career.

The Evolution of Carmelo Anthony

In this article…

Carmelo Anthony has done just about everything this season. From his terrific defense, to his tremendous leadership, Melo is silencing all doubters.

There are many reasons for the Knicks hefty 7-1 start this season and their current status as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, but look no further than Carmelo Anthony. Besides the veteran atmosphere and stifling team defense, Mike Woodson's biggest impact since being named the head coach in New York is by far inspiring the emergence of Anthony as a complete player. Since day one, Woodson's instant connection with Anthony has him playing some of his best basketball. As we saw in flashes last year, there was no drop off in Melo's play coming into this year; he playing even better if anything. 

In previous years, Carmelo has been known as a lazy defender not getting it done on the defensive side of the ball. The Olympics must have really gotten into Anthony's head this summer, as defense and team work were keys to winning the gold in London. This year is a whole new animal on defense for the whole Knicks team let alone their superstar. Anthony's all-around play has been infectious to his teammates as the hard working, hustling, defensive mindset of the Knicks has fans chattering of comparisons to the Knicks of the mid-nineties. His game has seen a complete synthesis adding not only defense to his game, but utilizing his strength and quickness to full advantage with his inside-out attack that has been seamless this year. Former Knicks general manager Donnie Walsh thinks Melo is doing all he can this year. "Carmelo is one of the few players in this league who can do everything. And now he's doing everything." 

As per the efficiency Carmelo is outputting, he is averaging 23 points (sixth in the league) and seven boards this season. Field goal percentage for Anthony is a little low however at 45%, but most of the dips in Anthony's offensive output can be blamed on his poor shooting night against the Spurs. What catches my eye about this years Melo though is not shown in the stat sheet. It's the diving after loose balls and never taking possessions off. Anthony is also becoming very effective in executing "hockey assists" for his teammates, the pass delivered to the passer granted the assist. 

New York's raucous comeback in San Antonio last week occurred on a night where Anthony only scored nine points. Usually this is an output that will result in a loss for the Knicks. However, Anthony's 12 boards and trust for his teammates showed the NBA that it's not all about scoring for him anymore, it's about winning and winning now. Late in the game, Anthony passed up on a three pointer, drove to the basket and dumped it off to Felton, who found JR Smith sitting on a wide open three point line for a decisive three pointer that eventually helped the Knicks to their first victory in San Antonio in a decade. Would Melo have made that extra pass last year? Probably not. He has bought into Woodson's philosophy, and it's paying off in a big way for the Knicks.                

The NBA's MVP chart has Carmelo Anthony listed at number three right now early in the season. Mike Woodson has done what many thought was impossible and turned Carmelo into a complete package. In my eyes Anthony has always had the potential to be where he's at now. He just needed to realize it. The question remains whether he can keep this level of play up, cut down his heckling to referees, and focus his energy completely on the game of basketball. His leadership will be the barometer on how far this team makes it this year. His willingness to adjust when Amar'e Stoudemire returns will also be a situation he will need to handle as many are still unsure if he and Amar'e can mesh properly. But for now, all is well for New York basketball. 

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see Carmelo Anthony.

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