Carmelo Anthony is putting up some staggering numbers in the Olympics.
He is scoring 17.4 points per game, second on Team USA. He's also hitting an eye-popping 60 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaging nearly 40 points per 36 minutes.
How and why is Anthony able to put up such gaudy stats?
There are several reasons, outlined by ESPN Insider Chris Palmer in this piece.
Palmer notes that Anthony's catch-and-shoot game allows him to take advantage of the open looks he's getting on kick-outs from his teammates.
Anthony is also benefiting from FIBA's shorter 3-point line. In addition, his ability to swiftly and precisely create his own shot fits in perfectly with the Team USA offense. And, as Palmer writes, Team USA is filled with multi-dimensional players, so it is not hurt by Anthony's approach, which is to focus on scoring.
But one of the most interesting factors at play here, according to Palmer, is that Anthony is not forced to lead on Team USA. That job belongs to LeBron James.
Writes Palmer: "With James in this role, it takes all the pressure off Anthony to lead. And let's face it: When Anthony doesn't have to worry about the managerial aspects of the game, he thrives. Regardless of what leadership skills he possesses, it's a role he's expected to fill with the Knicks. But on a team full of Type A personalities, Anthony is free to go his preferred route of just blending in. James -- and Chris Paul, and to a lesser extent, Tyson Chandler -- takes the responsibility and thus the burden off of Anthony. If Team USA falters, Anthony won't have to answer to the critics. James will. That makes it easier for Anthony to relax and focus on his primary task: putting the ball in the basket."
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