As the Los Angeles Lakers work through necessary adjustments, Carmelo Anthony has quickly emerged as a bright spot. Anthony’s offensive production has been a welcoming sight as he’s brought forth much-needed stability. His strong play has shown that he’s more than worth the $2.6 million salary, and he’s exactly what Lebron James and the Lakers need to push toward an NBA title.
Lakers venturing through expected rough start
Through the first three games, nothing should come as a surprise for the Lakers.
The front office knew revamping the roster would lead to a massive adjustment period as the team searches for its identity. Los Angeles has shown flashes of promise through star power’s play. Meanwhile, the roster has demonstrated the need to build defensive cohesion if there is any hope of a serious NBA title push.
However, the Lakers grabbed their first win on Sunday night by fending off a feisty Memphis Grizzlies team. It’s also quickly become apparent that Los Angeles must lean on its veteran presence to guide them forward. Within that vein, Carmelo Anthony is already showcasing why he’s exactly what the team needs to push toward the ultimate end goal.
Carmelo Anthony is outproducing his $2.6 million price tag, proving he’s exactly what LeBron James and the Lakers need in their NBA title hunt
As the Lakers work through early-season adjustments, scoring remains a crucial aspect that the team is finding balance.
Unsurprisingly, Anthony has become a bright spot in that realm behind his consistent production. The 37-year-old has been a significant offensive spark off the bench, averaging 17.7 points on 51.4% shooting from the floor and 66.7% from 3-point range through the first three games.
Anthony is coming off his best outing in a Laker uniform, posting a team-best 28 points behind 6-of-8 shooting from distance in the win over the Grizzlies. He’s shot the ball phenomenally well from 3-point range in each contest, hitting 50% or better.
The 10-time All-Star won’t keep up that torrid pace from deep, but his scoring, especially his 3-point shooting, is a welcoming sight. Last season, Los Angeles struggled to score consistently off the bench, while their 3-point shooting ranked 21st at a 35.4% clip.
Anthony is already proving that he’s well worth the roughly $2.6 million veteran’s minimum salary for this season. Defense isn’t his strong suit, but the Lakers didn’t bring him aboard for that. He’s well aware of that, and his firm dedication to scoring is what will make a world of difference in Los Angeles.
“Scoring the basketball is not easy. We may make it look easy, but it’s not easy,” Anthony said via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “For me, this is 19 years of repetition. And night in and night out. Day in and day out. Every summer. Every season. I’m reaping those benefits right now because of the persistence that I have in my professionalism. What I bring to the game, how I approach the game. And I want to keep going. That’s all that matters to me.”
Lakers must remain fully committed to the process
Anthony is certainly a bright spot, but the Lakers need more than his scoring to keep trending in the right direction.
Star point guard Russell Westbrook must find his role behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Los Angeles acquired him to fill the gap as the playmaking point guard who can take some offensive workloads off his star teammates’ shoulders.
Westbrook is showing improved play with each game under his belt. He’s transitioning from a high usage rate as a first or second offensive option to a significantly reduced role. Westbrook will continue to experience struggles, especially with turnovers averaging 5.7 per contest.
Beyond that, the Lakers must remain committed to the process because that is the only way to determine if this roster will work.