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NBA

Lakers' Carmelo Anthony says he's adaptable despite criticism

The ten time NBA All-Star has been questioned about adaptability in the past, but with recent performances speaking for themselves, it seems that critique missed the mark.

Update:
Carmelo isn't just adapting to his new role with the Los Angeles Lakers, the former scoring champion is loving it as he helped them to victory on Sunday.
KEVORK DJANSEZIANAFP

The Lakers' new boy is maintaining his good form as the regular season rolls on.

Lakers' Carmelo Anthony shows his stuff once again

Los Angeles Lakers' Carmelo Anthony is showing no signs of letting up as his high standard of play continued on Sunday. Scoring a game high 23 points, Anthony helped the Lakers to a 95-85 over the Houston Rockets. With 19 seasons under his belt, the former scoring champion was quick to clarify some things about his reputation after the game. "I think people don't really understand me," Anthony said. "I think there's a misconception out there about me and not being able to adapt to situations. But I'm easily adaptable, man, to any situation."

A Look at Carmelo Anthony through the years

In his first 15 seasons, Anthony was without doubt one of the central points of attack for both the Denver Nuggets and later the New York Knicks. Indeed Anthony averaged 20 or more points per game while the offense ran through him. To say he was the star of both franchises during his time with them would be stating the obvious. Yet in the years between 2017 - when he left the Knicks and this current season when he joined the Lakers his status has been somewhat debatable.

It was the 2017-18 season when Anthony joined the the Oklahoma City Thunder. The power forward went on to start 78 games for the Thunder before they crashed out of the first round of the playoffs. He was decidedly critical at the time of the idea of a bench role famously responding to a journalist with the question "Who me?" when asked about his willingness to accept a role as a reserve.

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Anthony would then find himself on the roster of the Houston Rockets just one season later. He played in just 10 games for the Rockets - starting two - before departing. Anthony was then inexplicably in the wind as he had no NBA team to play for. A year would pass as varying teams passed on the opportunity to sign him, wary of his refusal to play as anything other than the focal point.

How Carmelo Anthony got back on track

It would finally be the Portland Trail Blazers who took a chance on the Anthony in 2019. Anthony enjoyed his first season with the Blazers in a starting role before transitioning to an 'off the bench' player last season. That led to the Lakers acquiring his services in the 2021 off season. Anthony has clearly decided to take the opportunity in hand.

This season he has been a constant threat off the bench for Los Angeles with an average of 16.7 points per game on 50% shooting (52.2% from the 3point line). Sunday gone he even went a step further by posting four blocks and two steals in the same game, something he had not done since his rookie season in 2003.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel is pleasantly surprised

Speaking after the game Lakers' head coach Frank Vogel was full of praise. "I didn't expect him to have a defensive performance like he did tonight," Vogel said. "It was great. I mean, forget about the steals and blocks and strips. He's always good with his hands. But he's in the right position. When you watch him on tape coming into this year, I like, the effort's there. He plays hard on that side of the ball." "...And when he's providing that kind of performance on the defensive side of the ball, with the way he's shooting it, he's a huge part of our win tonight."

Teammate and Lakers' icon LeBron James also acknowledged Anthony's performances saying, "When it comes to efficiency and as far as what he's doing right now, we're just trying to break down the defense and he's finding himself, either his man is guarding him and leaving him or he's in a great rhythm," James said. "He's just taking his shots and knocking them down."

Carmelo Anthony keeps it simple

While there have been early concerns about the Lakers' performances given the kind of attacking firepower that they now boast, Anthony been consistently positive about their mixed form this season with their record now at 4-3. "I think for me now it's just about being mentally prepared for whatever is being thrown at us. And the rest will take care of itself," he said. "It's basketball at that point. If you're open, shoot it. If not, make a play for yourself, make a play for others. The more that I can simplify the game of basketball, the easier the game becomes, especially at this stage of your career."

Anthony added that he considers himself very open to change stating, "It was all about me being able to adapt, I'm always going back to just being able to adapt to whatever situation that I'm put in."

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