A year after Russell Westbrook won the MVP by putting up monstrous triple-double numbers, a beleaguered Carmelo Anthony showed up in OKC from New York, hoping to bolster the Thunder and their team lead by Westbrook.
The Thunder did well that year, winning 48 games. Ultimately, they lost in the first round to the Jazz. Anthony understands Westbrook's mentality and instinct. In that season, Westbrook was the front-and-center. He lead the team on every aspect, both in heart and play. This time around, they can all share the load and work with less pressure.
“It’s different. In OKC it was his show. He was the anchor of that. I think we did a great job of putting this group together so that everybody can kind of be their own anchor within what we’re trying to accomplish."
They recognize what each other is capable of. They know what they bring to the table, Anthony said.
“We all know Bron, we all know AD but everybody else we have to anchors too in order for this to work. So Russ have to be who Russ is. Him coming here, him coming home and that’s always a different feeling. Maybe trying to figure it out. I don’t know. But I know being home is a special feeling. I had the opportunity to play in New York and being back in front of family and friends and every night being home it’s a big difference. I think you guys will see that with Russ once he get going.”
Anthony understands the emotions going through Westbrook right now. There can be a lot of pressure going back to your hometown. There is pressure to perform. Anthony knows it's his job as well as James, Anthony Davis, and the role-players to take that load off of Westbrook.
These guys know each other and understand what each other goes through.