Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony is 37 years old and far past his prime. But that hasn’t stopped him from reinventing himself in a new role in Los Angeles. While his playstyle has drastically shifted over the years, much of his impact remains.
Anthony shared his thoughts on his current status with the Lakers in an ESPN interview with Dave McMenamin.
I’m still here doing it. I think that’s what I’m honestly excited about. I’m here in year 19 still doing what I’m able to do.”
Anthony’s Lakers sit at the 9-seed in the western conference with an unimpressive 9-9 record. New acquisitions have struggled to fit in while several vital pieces have shifted in and out of the lineup. With their star power and high expectations, such a start is underwhelming.
Nonetheless, the polarizing Lakers have their bright spots. Among them is Anthony. In 18 games this season, Anthony is averaging 15.2 points per game as the Lakers lead scorer off the bench. But this volume scoring is nothing new for Anthony, who topped the 20-point per game mark in each of his first 14 seasons.
Despite his aging, Anthony’s making career-best improvements in another area: efficiency. Anthony owns a 62.9% true shooting mark in 2021-22 (47.3/46.1/81.6 splits), by far the best of his career.
The contested jumpers out of the mid-post are a thing of the past for Anthony. In Year 19, he’s replaced those less efficient shots with a bevy of catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, arguably the best shot in basketball. He understands that he’s not the same player who won the scoring title in 2013. Instead, he’s buying into what the Lakers ask of him. And it’s working.
He detailed this growth in the interview.
“Still passionate about the game. Still passionate about coming to work every day and getting better.”
Not many fans would have predicted this stylistic change from Anthony, whose ball-dominant play style earned him a controversial reputation as a member of the Nuggets and Knicks. Yet, it’s that reputation that makes his resurgence all the more impressive.