Carmelo Anthony was the best player on the floor for Team USA in their convincing win over Spain. He came off the bench shooting, knocking down good look threes and helping change the momentum of the game.
It’s a very different Anthony than the ball-dominating one we see on the NBA hardwood. Here is works hard off the ball and lets the offense runs through others. He takes the shots when he gets them or moves the ball if the defense adjusts. And he plays more positions — he was guarding Pau Gasol in the post at times against Spain.
He likes that diversity. And the good news for Knicks fans is he thinks that what is happening here could carry over to New York next season. That’s what he told Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com.
“I don’t like (international basketball) better than NBA basketball. I play NBA basketball, that’s my career, that’s my life blood,” Anthony said. “But 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. 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 dirty work, 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.
“But this whole experience, every time I come back and play USA basketball, my mindset is a lot different. 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.”
Knicks fans hope so.
Anthony playing off the ball a little and letting Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire run some pick-and-roll action — which they had a nice chemistry doing in the pre-‘Melo era — would help diversify and strengthen the Knicks offense. ‘Melo doing some of the dirty work for the team would as well.
The Knicks are going to be good. Likely not contenders out of the East, but good. How good may depend largely on how much ‘Melo lives up to these words.