- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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GREENBURGH N.Y. -- Did the London Olympics change Carmelo Anthony?
Through one week of training camp, it certainly seems like they did.
We won't know anything for sure until they roll the balls out on Nov. 1, but, so far, it sounds as if Anthony returned from London with a different perspective on the benefits of playing team basketball.
He said on Monday that his experience at the Olympics has helped him trust his Knicks teammates "a lot more."
"I think at the end of the day for all of us, if we can trust one another out there on the basketball court it will make things a lot easier," he said. "And being with the guys that were on that team this summer, it really put that in perspective."
Anthony, you'll remember, was at times the United States' best scorer in the Olympics.
Before an off night in the gold medal game, Anthony averaged a little over 48 points per 48 minutes, including an astounding eight 3-pointers per 48 minutes.
He finished the tournament shooting a blistering 53.5% from the field and hit half of his 46 3-point attempts.
Anthony also set the U.S. Olympic single-game scoring record with 37 points against Nigeria in an opening-round game. He needed only 14 minutes to do so.
As he was pouring in all of those points, you could almost hear Knicks fans from Middletown to Manhattan asking the same question: Can he do the same thing for the Knicks?
Of course, it's unrealistic to expect Anthony to put up those eye-popping numbers in New York.
He'll be playing against some of the best players in the world night in and night out for the Knicks, not just a few of Nigeria's finest. Also, he won't be playing with the international 3-point line, which is a long two-point attempt in the NBA.
But, after listening to what Anthony has said since the team opened camp last week, it seems as if his time in London will make him a more willing passer this year.
Anthony's known as a player who thrives in isolation and he's oft-criticized for his tendency to bog down an offense. Can he do anything to change that perception this season, his 10th in the league?
Anthony noted on Monday that playing with talents such as Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James over the summer made it easy to make that extra pass to find an open teammate on the wing (though, it should be noted, he was often the beneficiary of that extra pass in London).
Anthony says he wants to bring the same ball-sharing mentality to Madison Square Garden this year.
"It's easy when you have 12 of the best guys in the world on one team but that same mindset (should translate to New York)," he said. "To incorporate that now, to my own team, it makes things a lot easier for myself."
Monday's comments were the latest in a recent series of statements Anthony's made about trusting his teammates more this season. He said earlier this month that he'd be more willing to sacrifice scoring for the benefit of the team.
"This is my 10th year," Anthony said. "I think everybody pretty much knows I can score the basketball. But for me, I’m done trying to score 30, 35, 40 points for us to win a basketball game. I don’t want that role anymore. It’s what I do best. But in order for this team to be successful with the guys that we have we need a more well-rounded team."
From a player of Anthony's caliber, those words are intriguing, to say the least.
Anthony's surrounded by a veteran cast this season, so it should be easier for him to share the ball, particularly because those players should make sound decisions with the ball.
Anthony's noticed as much during preseason scrimmages.
"I think right now as we play full court we run up and down it's starting to come a lot more easier," he said. "When guys take shots, they miss shots, (I) let them know that they're going to make the next shot. It's the little things that count out there."
Making an extra pass to find the open shooter. Trusting teammates. Having confidence that you don't have to carry the offensive load on your own.
The "little things."
If it plays out the way Anthony thinks it will this year, those "little things" could help take the Knicks a long way.
3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann