Carmelo Anthony: Having Fun Again After Accepting Role with Thunder

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 13:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder watches on against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on January 13, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony is apparently enjoying himself as a second or third option on the Oklahoma City Thunder alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

"Once you accept something, regardless of what it is, I think you become comfortable with it," he said Wednesday, per Royce Young of ESPN.com. "You start putting your all into it, you start working on that role and on that acceptance, and it becomes fun. I think right now, after accepting that role, I think early in December, the game is starting to become fun again for me, fun for us as a team. Any time you get to making shots and winning basketball games it makes it that much more fun."

Making shots is exactly what he did Wednesday during a commanding 114-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena. He led all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and was anything but a role player in the winning effort, considering only Westbrook (8-of-22 for 19 points) attempted more shots from the field.

Still, this season has been an adjustment for Anthony, considering he is a 10-time All-Star and six-time member of an All-NBA team largely because of his scoring ability.

He led the league in scoring in 2012-13 and averaged more than 20 points a night in each of his 14 seasons with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks since he entered the league as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 draft. The last time Anthony averaged fewer than 18.3 shots per game was his second season in the league.

As of the start of play Wednesday, the Syracuse product was averaging 17.4 points and 15.7 shots per game, which would both be career-low marks.

Young noted part of the adjustment has been using Anthony as more of a catch-and-shoot player instead of an isolated attacker, considering Westbrook has the ball so much. "It has been an adjustment that has proven uncomfortable for Anthony at times, but started to click for him in December following the Thunder's trip back to New York, where he addressed the team about accepting roles," Young wrote.

The acceptance has worked, seeing as how the Thunder are 17-8 since Dec. 1. They will have the opportunity to test the approach against one of the league's best on Saturday with a showdown with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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