Woodson sets out to maximize Melo's talent

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
9:57
PM ET
GREENBURGH -- Carmelo Anthony's widely known as one of the best scorers in basketball.

But Mike Woodson doesn't like that label.

"I'm trying to get Melo to do everything," Woodson said on Thursday. "I don't want him to be perceived as just a scorer. Melo's been defending for us, he's been rebounding for us, and that's what he's got to do."

A quick look at the numbers supports Woodson's point.

It's no surprise that Anthony's leading the Knicks in scoring (26.0). But he also leads them in rebounding (7.3 per game) and blocks (1.0).

He's given consistent effort on the defensive end -- something that's been missing in his game in the past. And he's also helped spur an increase in ball movement in the Knicks' offense -- something that wasn't there enough last season.

"That's what I've been trying to do for this team. Pass the ball, rebound, defend, just be the leader that Im supposed to be," he said.

The result?

The Knicks wake up on Friday morning at 3-0 and are the only undefeated team in the NBA. They'll try to open the season with four wins for the first time since 1993-94 on Friday when they take on the Dallas Mavericks.

"The most important thing is that guys are still focused," Anthony said. "Guys are still focused and trying to get better... guys are locked in right now."

It seems like Anthony's been locked in since London.

It was there that Anthony helped lead Team USA to gold medal in the Summer Olympics.

Anthony credits his Olympic experience with helping his focus entering this season.

"It stems from us winning this summer and just me knowing what I want, I want to win," Anthony said. "My mental focus right now is at 100%. I haven't been this focused in a long time."

Veteran Jason Kidd believes Anthony can make great strides in his 10th season in the league.

"I want him to fulfill what he thinks his potential is and that’s to be one of the best in this league," he said.

Woodson wants the same thing.

It's why the coach says he won't take it easy on Anthony this year.

"I'm going to stay on Melo just like I stay on the guy who plays the least minutes," Woodson said. "It's got to be that way."

You can follow Ian Begley onTwitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.5 3.2 0.9 36.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 3.9
StealsP. Prigioni 1.4
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3