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There’s an iconic player in his late 30s who is leading an early-season Lakers revival, and it isn’t LeBron James. Carmelo Anthony, 37, is shining brightest amongst the star-filled Los Angeles roster. Melo’s performing on both ends of the court while changing outside opinions in the process.
“I think people don’t really understand me,” Anthony told ESPN. “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.”
Carmelo Anthony tonight:
Only 24 Minutes off the bench. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/eC84bS9FIW
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 1, 2021
One of the most common misconceptions about Anthony is that he supposedly doesn’t play defense. Though there are years of evidence to back up that claim, he’s quieting that noise through the early portion this season, his first with the Lakers. In a Halloween win over Houston, Melo had four blocks and two steals — a stat line the 19-year veteran hadn’t previously accomplished since his rookie year.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel took notice, telling ESPN after the game: “I didn’t expect him to have a defensive performance like he did tonight. 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, Iike, the effort’s there. He plays hard on that side of the ball.”
Along with his newfound approach to defense, Melo’s been his usual lights-out self on the offensive end. He’s averaging nearly 17 points per game off the bench and shooting 52.2% from three. Consecutive games of more than 20 points from Anthony have led the Lakers to consecutive wins and a record above .500 for the first time all season.
“It was all about me being able to adapt,” said Anthony to Dave McMenamin. “I’m always going back to just being able to adapt to whatever situation that I’m put in.”
The Melo misconception tour continues tomorrow night with a Rockets-Lakers rematch in Los Angeles.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF