Monday, December 10th, 2012 at 9:00 am  |  42 responses

George Karl Praises the Change in Carmelo Anthony’s Game

When they worked together, and even after their separation, Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl often criticized Carmelo Anthony’s approach to the game. Karl thought ‘Melo was selfish and didn’t play good defense. Prior to witnessing some of the transformation up-close last night in a loss to the Knicks, Karl praised Anthony. Per the NY Times: “Karl suggested that the latest star to begin the transformation is Carmelo Anthony, the player he coached and tried to reason with for five and a half years in Denver. As Karl sat in the bowels of Madison Square Garden before the Knicks’ game against the Nuggets on Sunday night, he said he had noticed the way Anthony was playing, that Anthony — albeit through just 17 games this season — had changed. Yes, Anthony is averaging 26.4 points a game, which is near his career average. But he is playing mostly at power forward, lost weight in the off-season and seems to be less selfish on the court. Karl said he was pleased to see Anthony playing at such a high level, even if he tries not to wonder about how things could have been if Anthony had stayed in Denver and not demanded a trade two season ago. ‘I’ve said I feel that Carmelo is going to win a championship someday,’ Karl said. ‘He’s going to figure out that the numbers and the stats sheets aren’t important. It’s the scoreboard and the intangibles that make winners champions.’ Karl’s main task during their time together was to get Anthony not to think entirely about offense. They had some success, mostly in 2009, when the Nuggets reached the Western Conference finals. Eventually, Karl wore on Anthony. Yet Karl was quick to point out that Anthony was like most young, talented and selfish players in the league. ‘I can say that about everybody I’ve coached, except Chauncey Billups or Nate McMillan, in my career,’ Karl said. ‘I can say that about Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp and a lot of great young guys.’ [...] When Karl spoke of Anthony, he frequently mentioned Ray Allen. When Karl coached Allen in Milwaukee, Allen was focused on 3-pointers and being the Bucks’ leading scorer. ‘He wasn’t playing the type of defense he is now,’ Karl said. He added, ‘There are a lot of players that learn that later in their careers.’”

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  • Zabbah

    Damn, I didn’t realize how many talented stars George Karl has coached over the years. Tons of HOFers

  • King David

    George Karl is one horrendous coach

  • roscoe


  • gold

    Why are people saying Carmelo is all of a sudden less selfish? He averaged 3.1 assists per game for his career…This year he’s averaging 2.0 assists per game. The Knicks are just an all around better team this year

  • zogs19994


  • spit hot fiyah

    no more back peddling after throwing cheap shots

  • Anthony Dixon


  • TSmoove

    I would like to point out he has a lot of hockey assists (even though they don’t count). A lot of his passes generate the extra passes the Knicks make. Although his assists have gone down I would say he’s been more unselfish than ever this season. And I’ve been a Melo fan since Syracuse.

  • gold

    Fair enough. As a Celtics’ fan I guess I find every opportunity I can to criticize Carmelo.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    George Karl loves talking to the media. And they love him for it. It is one of the key ingredients behind his longevity in the league.

  • danpowers

    ever watched him play this season? the knicks are moving the ball. whenever he passes out of the doubleteam the knicks are swinging the ball or making the extrapass to the open man. nobody cares who gets the “assist” to fill the boxscore. thats why they are a winning team so far

  • Samuel Adams Jackson


  • The Philosopher


  • Mvp23100

    Exactly we do this every year with melo and every year he reminds us he’s a underachiever

  • robb

    Maybe they are saying that not because he has more assists but because instead of holding the ball for 15 seconds, now he helps the Knicks to generate ball movement. He’s also less selfish because now he’s actually playing some D and helping out his teammates more. I’m glad for the Knicks fans. They have a solid team and Mike Woodson is doing a great work. The sh*t works!

  • platinum

    you’re stupid just stop talking unless you really watch him play. stop looking at the stat sheet

  • O

    George Karl Kardashian??

  • Lloyd

    It’s easy to be unselfish when your team is playing good and is successful. I want to see how Carmelo performs if/when the Knicks lose a string of games and frustration mounts. It’s great to see what the result of a team-first Melo is though. Incredible to watch.

  • Redd

    Not against my Bulls…LOL jk!

  • Samuel Adams Jackson


  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Carmelo’s balling Forreal these days. He deserves props

  • allentjones


  • Redd

    Denzel Washington.

  • Bored

    “It’s easy to be unselfish when your team is playing good and is successful”

    that sh*t is profound!

  • danpowers

    lol touché

  • danpowers

    last season when the knicks had a frustrating stretch he emerged and became player of the month in april. say what you want about his flaws and especially flaws of his past, but he aint that kind of guy who quits when the going gets tough.

  • danpowers

    i really enjoyed reading this lines lol

  • Ugh

    At least you’re honest.

  • Ugh

    Hey George, isn’t it great to see how well a player can do when he’s got a coach who motivates him to do well?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    what are the Knicks going to do when Amare comes back? What should they do?

  • danpowers

    one of the best the game has ever seen. show some respect

  • danpowers

    i hope woody lets him come off the bench then

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I think that’s the best option but I just don’t see it happening for an extended period of time…I mean for them to be most effective Amare would probably have to be held to like 20 mins a game maybe even less. No way he would be okay with that.

  • greg

    selfishness isnt just about passing, its playing your correct positioning off the ball on defense its flashing through the lane so someone else gets open for a 3. its taking a charge, its staying within the concept of the team. melo’s job isnt to pass I hate how people criticize him for having low assist numbers, he should just do his job of being an assasin as best he can, and not try to be lebron and just do everyone else’s job on the court

  • danpowers

    i am convinced that theyd be able to integrate him effectively into the starting lineup in the long run. i think it would be the best option for now to let him come off the bench. it would also help him to get used to the nba pounding step by step instead of throwing him into the cold water from day one. but whatever, coach never asks me what to do lol. we will see

  • Mike From Spain

    George Karldashian

  • danpowers

    thats jus b*tching about a player he / she doesnt like

  • Bored

    yeah its almost like a backhanded compliment in reverse. hang unreasonable sh*t on a player then tidy it up with a compliment. trying to avoid the hater label.

  • Lloyd

    i actually really like Melo. I just think he, like Kobe, looks for his shot more when their team is struggling. Both are more prone to shoot than pass, but one is inclined to pass to teammates who are knocking down shots. It’s harder to pass to teammates who are struggling. I’m just saying reserve judgement on his unselfish game.

  • danpowers

    unless a players name is not lebron james or chris paul most nba players are role players in some way. even most all star players. some guys’ role is scoring and i think when the teams gameplan is to execute their plays through that scorer for setting him up to score then taking a certain amount of shots isnt necessarily selfish.

    reading double teams and defensive rotations to figure out when to play the right pass is more about doing your job good or bad, not so much about playing selfish or unselfish.
    the players’ decision to sacrifice himself on defense and his hustle plays determine more if the guy is playing for the team or himself. i think thats the main reason why people give him so much credit this year because this is what he does now.

  • Lloyd

    I agree with almost everything you said, but the fact is Melo does shoot more than the average player and his mentality is score first. Dude’s second in the league in field goals attempted only behind Kobe. In terms of making the extra pass, Melo is slightly better but to say it’s a drastic change from past years is jumping the gun a little is all I’m saying.

    His defensive mindset is a lot better for sure. He’s hungrier this year for sure. He’s playing for a championship, not the team. The team is just a means to that end.

    If we’re going to praise a change in his game, say he’s more focused, driven, or hungry but nselfish just isn’t the right word for it in my opinion.

  • danpowers

    i agree that unselfish isnt the right word. selfish has never been that neither. i like the way you put it to describe the change tho and co-sign that