If thereâ€™s one thing that just emanates off the court and oozes out of the television screen about Carmelo Anthony, itâ€™s the pure, unbridled love he has for the game of basketball. For those crucial moments in a game. For seeing the ball splash through the net over a helpless defender.
Since he was a child, born in Brooklyn, raised in Baltimore, Anthony has had the gifts to be one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. Heâ€™s relished every chance heâ€™s gotten to score at will.
â€œI always had a knack for scoring the ball. Itâ€™s something I was always gifted to do. When I was a kid it came natural,â€� Anthony explained at practice on Thursday. â€œI fell in love with it. I love to score the ball. You have to love it.â€�
What Thunder fans and those around the NBA may not realize is that Anthony isnâ€™t just a scoring machine whose joy shines through that all-knowing smile when he skips downcourt after nailing a jumper. Heâ€™s a film-obsessed strategist. Heâ€™s diligent and methodical about his mental preparation. Then heâ€™s free and loose when heâ€™s on the court, roasting defenders with baseline post ups or trailing three-pointers.
During U.S. Cellular Thunder Training Camp, Anthony has been in the film room every day, dissecting his new teammates and in particular Russell Westbrook. Itâ€™s in that preparation that Anthony will find his launch points, and his chances to be the lethal scorer the Thunder needs him to be each night.
â€œI know what Russ is about. I watch film on him all day, every day,â€� Anthony said, describing the mental notes he takes â€“ what Westbrook likes to do from different catch points and on different spots on the floor.
Film wasnâ€™t much of a habit at Towson Catholic High School or at Syracuse, save for the NCAA tournament run to the 2003 National Championship. But early on in Anthonyâ€™s NBA career, he started to fall in love with the film. No one really taught him how to study. There wasnâ€™t a veteran who showed him the ropes. But nonetheless Anthony figured out how defenses were guarding him, the types of shots he was taking and where he likes to score on the court.
â€œI like to watch and I like to learn,â€� Anthony said. â€œA lot of things that Iâ€™m going to learn is from actual film.â€�
Itâ€™s also helped him with new teammates, like in the aforementioned case of Westbrook. It also helps him give scouting reports and figure out how his skills can translate on the floor with the players next to him. Take this one on Steven Adamsâ€™ defense, for example. Anthony said:
â€œItâ€™s just his presence out there on the court, how much ground he takes up when heâ€™s out there, his athleticism, the way he can move from block to block to take over that paint. It makes it easier for myself and other guys on the court that we know we have an agile big like that, a very aggressive big and we can play off of that and be as aggressive knowing that he has our back.â€�
Camp Talk: Carmelo Anthony
– Thunder forward Patrick Patterson (knee) was able to do some contact work today in practice, including one-on-one drills at the end of the session. Raymond Felton (wrist sprain) did not participate in contact but he was able to pass and shoot. Both players are doing more and more, and according to Donovan will be continually evaluated to determine their status for next week. There wasnâ€™t a lot of contact in todayâ€™s practice, but there will be a lot more live play for the team on Friday and Saturday.
– In addition to opening up about his film habits and his passion for the game, Anthony disclosed what his perceptions were of Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti before he was traded to the team in September. Anthony had glowing terms about Presti and the Thunder organization.
- â€œHe was a very professional guy, a serious guy and a guy who wants to win. A guy who has his morals and what he believes in. He sticks with what he believes in and he doesnâ€™t alter that. Heâ€™s very respectable around the NBA amongst players and front office execs,â€� Anthony said.
Watch: Thunder Minute – 10/12