With the Lakers’ 2021-22 season underway, the team is already experiencing a slew of injuries to some key players. Lebron James, the Lakers’ main star, is out of the lineup, nursing his current injury.
Due to his absence, the Lakers will have to rely a lot more on none other than scoring maven Carmelo Anthony, who was named the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Considering it was not that long ago that Anthony was not signed to any current team and was fighting to maintain his career, the 10-time NBA All-Star has already proven to be the right guy at the right time for the Lakers.
But Anthony has had his share of scrutiny. Before joining the Lakers, NBA teams questioned his fit and personality. After parting ways from the Portland Trailblazers, Anthony is now showing up and showing out with the Lakers.
“Everyone else thought that. I never believed that,” Anthony said. “I took it on the chin and dealt with it, played through the scenarios in my head for months, but I never doubted myself.”
Coming to Los Angeles, Anthony was expected to provide much-needed bench scoring for the Lakers when he was brought into the team. Due to the early injury woes for the Lakers, Anthony has been put into a role where there might be some nights where is expected to score a bunch of points.
After Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, Anthony is operating as the third scoring option for the Lakers. In recent home games against the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat, Anthony flexed his scoring muscles.
Off to an impressive start to the season, especially at home, Anthony has shot the ball exceptionally well from downtown. That hot shooting was on full display against the Hornets, a game that resulted in an overtime victory for the Lakers.
Anthony starred against the Hornets, shooting a red hot 7 of 10 from the three-point line. He finished the game with 29 points and three rebounds. Anthony played 37 minutes in the game, which many would not have expected at the beginning of the season.
“We’re getting him as many trees as we can get him,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “In areas where it is gonna be difficult for defenses to help, our guys are always looking for him. I think the pace we are playing with is also generating a lot of those looks. He has been terrific for us on both sides of the ball.”
Anthony has been playing his best ball so far this season at home. He was averaging 20.6 points per game on 64 percent shooting from 3-point land entering the game against the Heat. With the Heat being one of the better teams defensively, Anthony got a lot of attention.
Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker, two of the better defenders in the NBA, were given the assignment of slowing Anthony down. Anthony saw double teams and trapping defensive schemes. Because of the way he has played recently, the question becomes will teams use these methods on defense in the future?
Anthony did not have a spectacular performance against the Heat as he did against the Hornets. He finished that game with just 12 points and went 1 of 5 from the 3-point line. The Lakers received a significant amount of help from other players such as Malik Monk and Avery Bradley that made up for Anthony’s off night.
Injuries are already a problem for the Lakers. The maladies have helped the team discover what they have with their depth. Anthony so far is fulfilling what he was brought in to do and even exceeding those expectations.
While James and several other players are out nursing injuries, the Lakers are depending on the production from Anthony. Anthony and the Lakers have four more games to play at Staples Center during the month of November.