After almost 20 years of only crossing paths in the NBA as competitors, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are finally teammates. The Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, picks in the 2003 NBA Draft, James and Anthony are close friends who have only ever teamed up as members of Team USA at various international basketball tournaments.
The interesting dynamic here is that, while James is still one of the best basketball players in the world, Anthony is no longer in his prime and has settled into a position as a very solid role player in the league. It has raised some questions about how he will fit in Los Angeles, but based on a quote he gave to the assembled media following a training camp session on Friday, he’s ready to settle into a spot where he does whatever’s asked of him by Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
“At this point, man, whatever we need to do, let’s do it,” Anthony said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “It ain’t … ‘I can’t sit,’ and, ‘Oh, I want to start,’ ‘I want to come off the bench.’ Whatever it is, it is.”
Much was made of Anthony not wanting to come off the bench during his tenure with the Houston Rockets, but after being a starter for most of his first year with the Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony settled into a role as a dangerous reserve last season. Anthony averaged 13.4 points on 42.1 percent shooting from the field and 40.9 percent from three in 24.5 minutes per game last year, and only started in three of the 69 games in which he appeared.
With how the Lakers will presumably want floor spacing around James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, there is a case to be made that Anthony should play early and often. But if Vogel ultimately decides he’s best in a role similar to what he had last year in Portland, Anthony sounds ready.
“Whatever he wants, let’s do it,” Anthony said. “I’m not even trippin’ about that at this point. Because let’s go. Let’s go win.”