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Carmelo Anthony may be the best scorer in the NBA.
For better or worse, Carmelo Anthony is the face of the New York Knicks.
An argument can be made for either, but let's focus on the positives. 'Melo's strength places him among the top scorers in the NBA today. In an off season last year, Anthony still managed to will the Knicks to key victories, like the thrilling overtime win over Chicago on Easter Sunday and the team's playoff victory over Miami last spring.
Coming into this season, Carmelo seems to have a brand new outlook on basketball.
"I’m done trying to score 30, 35, 40 points for us to win a basketball game," he said at the Knicks' Media Day. "I don’t want that role anymore." (via NorthJersey.com)
After a summer spent with the best basketball players on the globe in London, Anthony realized that the key to a winning culture is trust in teammates. He shared the following with ESPN New York:
I think at the end of the day for all of us, if we can trust one another out there on the basketball court it will make things a lot easier. … In order for this team to be successful with the guys that we have we need a more well-rounded team.
It's usually unwise to judge a player strictly based on quotes, but these kinds of statements make you think Anthony is beginning to realize his flaws as a leader. In the past, very rarely did you hear Anthony speak about the players surrounding him, or suggest he do less.
Besides, after his scorching performance overseas during the Olympics, why wouldn't he want to bring that approach to the Garden floor? He shot 53.5 percent from the field in London while sinking 23 of 46 three-point attempts.
In theory, 'Melo should thrive early this season. With Amar'e Stoudemire out of the lineup through the first two months, Anthony may find himself filling in at the 4 spot frequently, where he feasted on opposing power forwards last season in Stoudemire's absence. Defensively, he has the size to match up with them on the opposite end as well.
Speaking of defense, it has never been a question of ability; the question has been whether Anthony has wanted to contribute that way. Under Mike Woodson late last season, we saw the best defense Carmelo has played in his career.
Carmelo also has three experienced point guards on the roster this season who will know how to feed him to ball and get him his fair share of looks.
All the stars seem to be aligned for Anthony to bring his game to the elite level in 2012, and it's up to 'Melo to get it there. The Knicks' success is entirely dependent on it.
Follow John Dorn on Twitter at @JSDorn6 for more Knicks talk.