There’s something different about Carmelo Anthony this season.
No, he’s not wearing a different headband or shooting sleeve. He hasn’t changed his barber (that we know of) and it’s definitely not the shoes. What’s different about Melo, and therefore the Knicks, may not be tangible, but it’s certainly visible: trust. As Ian Begley of ESPN reports, the biggest difference in Melo’s game this year is the trust he has in his teammates.
“I was going to [either] trust them or not; there wasn’t no in between with that,” Anthony said. “I decided to go full throttle with trusting this group of guys.”
The trust could be one factor behind Anthony’s improved assist numbers this season.
His assist rate this season (5.2) is the second highest of his career, per basketball-reference.com. He’s also creating 8.1 points per game from his assists, which is ninth among forwards who play at least 25 minutes per game, per NBA.com.
“He’s being a real leader,” says Kristaps Porzingis, who adds that Anthony has been a “mentor” for him since they first met. “He’s sharing the ball, he’s scoring — he’s doing everything for the team.”
Trust is absolutely essential for any team and any leader, but it’s not an easy thing to come by. Normally, it takes months, even seasons before players truly and completely trust one another. The way ‘Melo approached it – going all-in, all at once – is rare, but it seems to be paying off for both he and the Knicks.