Dec 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the third quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden. New Orleans Pelicans won 103-99. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony: The New Anthony May Be Best Anthony

Carmelo Anthony is a lot of things to a lot of people — now to the New York Knicks he may be the point guard they have sorely missed. Raymond Felton, although injured most the season, could never get the Knicks into the flow of the game. He would walk the ball down the court and basically give the ball to Anthony. Through 16 games, Carmelo Anthony averaged 22 shots a game for the Knicks. The Knicks were 3-13. This was even below his own worst expectations. When interviewed, Carmelo stated,” “Me scoring 30 wasn’t working.”

It takes more than a star to sacrifice for the better of the team, it takes a superstar. Anthony maybe can learn from LeBron James, who is by many considered the best player in the NBA. While in Cleveland, James scored at will, but the Cavaliers never won a championship. Since going to the Miami Heat, he has changed his game and has been rewarded with two championships.

Dec 6, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) boxes out Orlando Magic small forward Maurice Harkless (21) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two games, Anthony took 12 shots and 10 shots in two wins for the Knicks. In the last two games, he totaled 22 shots, or his prior one game average. The difference, the Knicks won both games by large margins. “For me, I wanted to do something a little different to see if it worked,” said Anthony.

Well, the Knicks needed change after losing 9 straight games, and since taking this new team first attitude, the Knicks have won their last two games in resounding fashion. It started with a blowout win over the rival Brooklyn Nets by 30 with six Knick players scoring in double figures. The happiness continued Friday night in the Knicks’ trouncing of the Magic 121-83, with seven double-figure scorers.

When interviewed Mike Woodson stated, “There’s going to be nights he’s going to get 30 and there’s going to be nights he’s going to get 40.” Woodson continued, “But I’ve always said since I’ve been here I want a team offensively where you just don’t know where it’s going to come from.”’

Wilt Chamberlain was once one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA, who at the age of 25, averaged 50.4 points per game. In that same year he averaged 25.7 rebounds, yet his team did not win the NBA championship. Wilt learned he had to involve his team to win. In 1966-67 his average reduced to 24.2 points per game, with 24.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists. He dropped his scoring in half, he maintained his work under the boards, his assists more than tripled from the 2.4 hew averaged his 50 point season. The biggest difference: he won his first NBA championship.

Other great scorers like Allen Iverson and George Gervin never won an NBA championship. Anthony must get his team involved to win. It is not just that the Knicks won two games in a row, but they won both in resounding fashion.

Against the Nets, Anthony didn’t even attempt his first shot until 4:33 remained in the first quarter. He got far more involved against Orlando — he launched six of his shots in the first quarter — but then he tried just four the rest of the way. So for two games, averaging 11 shots and getting everyone else involved was fine all around.

One of the players to benefit the most was Iman Shumpert. As trade rumors and speculation surrounded Shumpert, it appears over the last two games he started to get his mojo back. Shortly after telling MSG Network’s Tina Cervasio that he was “pissed off … at the world,” Shumpert took the court and scored 10 points in 25 minutes in the Knicks’ 38-point win over Orlando. As important as any win is this time of season, it was nice to see Shumpert bring passion and it seems his legs finally back. . In the third quarter, Shumpert drove the lane and finished with a thunderous right-handed dunk in between two Magic defenders to give the Knicks a 16-point lead. To Shumpert, it was “just a dunk.” But it’s easy to wonder if he was making a statement to Woodson or the rest of the NBA. He stated, “Honestly, I’m just kind of pissed off, that’s all. So you just play like that,” he said. “I felt like people were laughing at my team and I don’t like it.”

Often in Woodson’s doghouse, many executives around the league think Shumpert has not been used properly. He often plays small forward versus shooting guard, his natural position. Well maybe the new Anthony sparked Shumpert or maybe Woodson has finally gotten him to play angry, an old Coach Bob Knight trick perhaps. When questioned, Woodson stated, “If he’s playing like he’s playing, he can be mad at the world,” Woodson said.

Anthony must continue to develop his team and his players. No one man can win in the NBA, it is a team game. The Knicks have the talent; maybe Anthony can turn them into a team. His new attitude may not have only saved the Knicks season, it may have saved Woodson his job. Next up is Boston, which now appears to be the biggest game in the season as Boston sits a top of the NBA east. Lets hope Anthony’s new strategy and the winning continues.

Dr. Eric Kaplan is a Bestselling Author

Follow him on twitter @drekaplan

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