After adjusting to his role as an complimentary scorer, Carmelo says basketball is "fun again."
Carmelo Anthony says he's enjoying the game of basketball again after accepting his role as a complimentary scorer in Oklahoma City.
The 10-time All-Star struggled to find his rhythm on offense beside new teammates Paul George and Russell Westbrook over the first couple months of the season. This was evident as the Thunder stumbled out of the gate to an 8-12 record through the end of November.
But as the new trio of Westbrook, George and Anthony became familiar with each other, it's translated to success on the court. Oklahoma City has gone 17-8 since Dec. 1.
"Once you accept something, regardless of what it is, I think you become comfortable with it," he said after Wednesday's win over the Lakers, according to ESPN's Royce Young. "You start putting your all into it, you start working on that role and on that acceptance, and it becomes fun. I think right now, after accepting that role, I think as early as December, the game is starting to become fun again for me, fun for us as a team."
Anthony's new role no longer requires him to be the feature scoring option, a title he's held for his entire career before being traded to the Thunder. The former Knicks forward has seen his scoring average dip from 22.4 points per game last season down to a career–low 17.6 points on 15 shots per game.
But Anthony still gets opportunities to revert back to his old style when needed. It was noticeable Wednesday night as he put on a clinic in a 114–90 win over the Lakers, scoring 27 points on 10-15 shooting, including better than 60% from beyond the arc.
"I think any time you're making shots you feel good about yourself and what you're doing, what the team is doing," Anthony said. "Tonight was just one of those nights where the shot was falling and the game was fun. And we took advantage of that."
Oklahoma City currently sits in fifth place in the Western Conference at 25-20. They travel to Cleveland to face the Cavs on Saturday.