New York Knicks Praise Carmelo Anthony’s Leadership


Throughout his career, Carmelo Anthony has been praised for his ability to create for himself. He’s an all-time scorer who can operate in isolation and go 1-on-5 with a certain measure of efficiency.

What appears to be understated is Anthony’s evolution as a leader.

As a (super?)star without a championship, ‘Melo has received the label of an incapable leader. Whether or not that theory is based in truth, Anthony is working to disprove the theory in 2015-16.

Per Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Anthony is comfortable in the leadership role.

"“I lead in my own way,” Anthony said earlier this week. “I will speak up from time to time, but that’s just not who I am, that’s not my personality.”"

It’s not about the basketball community’s expectation of the process; it’s about the progress.

Anthony’s teammates spoke in unison about how the well-documented trip to Puerto Rico brought the team closer together. From fresh faces to returning contributors, the tone became clear: Anthony’s leadership is unquestioned.

Lance Thomas made that clear, per Begley:

"“That’s definitely leadership,” Lance Thomas, one of the Knicks in Puerto Rico for the workouts, said. “Him putting us in a position where we can start the season before the season starts is big time. Getting to know everybody on the squad, everybody becoming familiar with each other, it’s important.”We were like a band of brothers out there,” Thomas said."

That last sentence is the most important.

The Knicks may not have the strongest paper roster, but there are few facets of the game more important than team chemistry. It can be the difference between talent being squandered and maximized, which makes Anthony’s approach a vital one.

Kevin Seraphin, a recent signee, spoke to how Anthony helped him feel comfortable with his new team.

"“I didn’t know anyone, I just got here. Doing this kind of stuff, it made me more comfortable,” [Kevin Seraphin] said. “It was my first impression and it was great.”"

Kyle O’Quinn, another new signee, spoke in-depth about how Anthony’s made his transition from the Orlando Magic to the Knicks an easy one.

"“Anytime you can get together with guys off the court, it does something for chemistry,” says Kyle O’Quinn, who was in Puerto Rico for the weekend events. “Just having a regular conversation as far as, ‘Do you have kids? What’s your situation at home?’ It brings you a little closer to guys. You respect guys more, you see what guys are all about. It helps with chemistry because on the court you know, ‘Oh he didn’t really miss me [with a pass] because he wanted to miss me. He’s a good dude.’”"

That could prove invaluable as the season progresses.

New York isn’t a team that’s going to get by on the strength of a, “Big Three,” or a cast of established contributors. Instead, Anthony will be surrounded by a number of players who will be tasked with overachieving.

In order to make that dream a reality, everyone must be on the same page.

Throughout the locker room, there’s one word that’s come up more often than any other: “Commit.” Committing to the team is what every player’s been tasked with, and thus far, everyone appears to be on board.

Anthony praised his teammates for that shared vision.

"“I didn’t want to wait until now to try and get everybody on the same page. We’d be a little bit behind when it comes to that,” he said.“I saw that guys were committed,” he said. “They could have been somewhere else or with family. For them to be there with me and working out and having fun and just enjoying that and kind of wanting to be around not just me, but other guys that were there, was a great feeling.”"

Lou Amundson spoke about the same word and feeling.

"“It shows guys that you’re committed to it and committed to each other. That’s what it’s about,” he said. “It’s about trust and your commitment to one another. Stuff like that goes a long way to building a solid team.”"

Anthony has developed into a respected leader.

Anthony is No. 12 all-time in career scoring average and No. 34 in total points scored. He’s one of 40 players with at least 20,000 points, ranking No. 9 amongst active players if Ray Allen is included.

The question has always been about whether or not he can lead a team to the promise land.

It’s far too soon to say that Anthony can take a team to a championship, but this is a promising sign. He’s taking a hands-on approach to getting the 2015-16 Knicks on the same page, and that could work wonders as a long 82-game season looms.

If nothing else, Anthony has taken the first step towards being the star New York needs; he’s earned the respect of the locker room.

Next: Can the 2015-16 New York Knicks overachieve in the mold of the 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks? Derek Fisher believes so.

More from Daily Knicks