Melo's Japan plan would fly in Denver
Article in DenverPost today, really good read about Carmelo's imporved maturity and progress in japan.
Also, a small paragraph that suggest the Kenyon/Karl feud is settling down, and outlining Kenyon as a star performer in Nugs scrimmages.
check it out..
Melo's Japan plan would fly in Denver
By Marc J. Spears
Denver Post Staff Columnist
Carmelo Anthony's luggage when he returns from Japan will likely include state-of-the art electronics and a shiny gold medal after the world championships conclude. But before taking a 17-hour flight back to Denver, the Nuggets star must not forget to bring home the well-rounded play and leadership skills he has displayed for Team USA.
"I'm going to do whatever I need to do to help this team win a gold medal," Anthony said in a phone interview. "Hopefully, the Nuggets see that, see how hard I'm working over here and I will bring that same mentality into my regular season. I hope they are ready for that."
Anthony has averaged a team-best 19.6 points and scored an American- record 35 points in a comeback win over Italy. He scored a team-high 19 points in a quarterfinal victory over Germany on Wednesday. And get this, he is defending foes at half court, averaging 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals in 22.1 minutes, shooting 45.9 percent from 3-point range and diving for loose balls.
NBA All-Star Game MVP LeBron James and NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade raced past Melo last season. But in Japan, Melo has caught up to his 2003 NBA draft classmates.
How? By being the emotional leader and go-to-guy for Team USA. Not King James. Not D-Wade. Melo. To rise above a long list of NBA all-stars as the best player is a huge statement.
"Everybody is seeing what I'm doing," said Anthony, who believes he has dramatically improved his image during these championships. "Everybody should see that we're all on the same level."
The three-year Nugget has a nickname synonymous with his personality. He isn't a team captain with Denver, but with Team USA he is a vocal tri-captain with James and Wade.
Anthony told his teammates at training camp in Las Vegas to leave their egos outside the gym. He made a voluntary evening practice in Sapporo, Japan, mandatory. And he helped keep his teammates relaxed when Team USA was down at halftime to Italy.
"Any time your best player starts taking responsibility for quality of performance, demanding professionalism in practice and games and maturity and focus, they add wins to your total," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Most of my teams I coached, my best player isn't my best practice player. It will be interesting to see if Melo wants to take that challenge."
Anthony said he does.
"Leaders set example by working hard and letting everyone see how hard they work. Everyone sees how hard I work on the court. I get along with everybody, but at the same time, I let everybody know the real."
The Nuggets need the real from Melo next season.
We know he can score. But the 3-point shooting, the rebounding, the defense and the vocal leadership, Melo, my man, you've got to bring that back home. And if the new $80 million man is to the Nuggets what he is for Team USA, a first NBA all-star appearance and at least the second round of the playoffs will follow.
"I have no problem saying we should win 50 games," said Karl, who added that forward Kenyon Martin, hampered by knee injuries last season, is displaying "bounce" in half-court games at the Pepsi Center and is "the best guy on the court" most days. Forward-center Nene should be back after missing most of the last season with a knee injury.
And Anthony likes the addition of the Smiths, Joe and J.R., too. But he has some concerns. "We got 10 big men already," Anthony said. "But you bring (Joe Smith) on and he's healthy, he's a double-double guy. J.R. is young, talented. He is going to need some guidance. He will be OK. But we're still missing something. I just can't figure out what it is."
I've figured it out, Melo. The Nuggets desperately need a veteran shooting guard and 3-point threat. But have patience, Nuggets fans. There's still a lot of time before training camp and the franchise seems to have something up its sleeve, whether it's via trade or signing free agent Bonzi Wells at a discount.
"Rest assured we're going to make our team better," director of player personnel Mark Warkentien said.
While his powder-blue future is a hot topic, Anthony is more focused on the red, white and blue now. Anything less than gold is unacceptable, he said.
"I got some unfinished business to take care of," Anthony said.
Not only in Japan, but in Denver, too.
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