The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled mightily since Anthony Davis suffered an MCL sprain, losing most of their games despite LeBron James‘s gargantuan effort to drag his team and keep it competitive without his secondary star and most of the roster in Health and Safety Protocols.
With the players and head coach returning from quarantine, the team has started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and things might get a little bit better until AD’s return, but it will still take some time.
In these low times for the purple and gold, however, there is a player who has been rock solid for the team besides LeBron. We are obviously talking of Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo Anthony deserves an apology because of how strongly he is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In addition to making a case for Sixth Man of the Year early in the season, in Davis’ absence, Melo really emerged as the replacement veteran star for the Lakers. He stepped up as the third star of a big three, providing scoring when needed and stepping back when not while not getting out of his competencies.
Since the big man’s injury, Anthony has been averaging 14.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in just 26 minutes per game, punctuated by a 24-point performance in the win against the Houston Rockets.
MUST-READ: The purpose of trading Rajon Rondo is clear
We are talking about a player who, two seasons ago, was out of the NBA and now is again on the floor displaying his talent and how much he has still left in the tank.
Melo has been incredibly solid, providing much-needed three-point shooting and, what is most striking, putting in a visible defensive effort.
Renowned for his lack of interest and effort on that side of the floor throughout his career, a real issue for his coaches (especially George Karl) and probably one of the reasons for his ring drought, we have to give credit to Carmelo for the commitment he has been showing in his 19th season.
He appears focused, trying to comply with the team defensive system, rotating as required and helping on the weak side. It is not a coincidence that he is averaging a career-high 0.8 blocks while playing a career-second-low 27 minutes per game. These days it is not uncommon to see Melo swatting a shot in a game despite his 37 years of age. He just had 3 blocks against the Portland Trail Blazers.
More admirably, he is putting in the extra effort, running to contest shots on the perimeter whenever a player is wide open thanks to ball movement and bad defensive rotations. Those are signals of his seriousness about winning the championship this time around.
His stabilizing presence for the Lakers might be somewhat of a surprise, but it is a credit to his career and the legacy of an NBA legend.