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.'”