Carmelo Anthony Says International Hoops Allow Him to Be More Versatile

by July 25, 2012

Melo was one of the MVPs for Team USA in their victory over Spain last night, as he continued to carve out a stellar international basketball legacy. According to Anthony, FIBA play lets him showcase more skills than his NBA gig does. Per SheridanHoops: “These Americans can shoot it, and Anthony’s 5-for-8 shooting from 3-point range led a 13-for-23 performance from the arc. ‘Carmelo is as versatile of a guy after LeBron as we have,’ coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Indeed, Anthony played at the 3, 4 and 5 positions, and LeBron James spent more time defending Pau Gasol than did starting center Tyson Chandler (five fouls and two points in 8 minutes). Kevin Love also had his best game of this summer with 9 rebounds in 13 minutes, spending some of his time on Serge Ibaka and Gasol. Anthony (27 points) and James (25 points) were named co-MVPs of the game. If there was a lesson to be learned from this final exhibition, it is that although the Americans are vertically challenged – to put it politely – they are also a matchup nightmare for opposing big men who are unaccustomed to playing perimeter defense. James plays some center for Team USA. Anthony plays some center. Love plays some center. Kevin Durant plays some 4. All of them can drain it from deep. […] In two weeks, maybe Anthony will be back to loving FIBA basketball the way he once did. ‘I don’t like it better than NBA basketball. I play NBA basketball, that’s my career, that’s my life blood,’ Anthony said. ‘But FIBA basketball allows me to play multiple positions and do a lot of different things out there on the basketball court than I do in the NBA. I’m in a different position, I play the 3, the 4, the 5. I don’t play the 5 back in the NBA. Over here, with these guys on the team, it’s more playing off of them, doing some dirty work, when the ball comes to you trying to knock down shots, rebounding. Most of the times I’m playing against 4s and 5s, and it’s a much more physical game than in the NBA. I won’t be playing the 5 in New York, I know that. But this whole experience, every time I come back and play USA basketball, my mindset is a lot different. The team-oriented atmosphere I bring back to my team, the focus I have, my conditioning, and carrying that into the regular season, it’s like I’m getting an early start. Look at what happened the year after we won the gold medal. In 2009 I had one of my best seasons with Denver and we went to the Western Conference finals. My body felt great, my mind felt great – and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind coming out of USA Basketball.’”