Carmelo Anthony’s best seasons have come after participating in the Olympics with Team USA. Don’t be surprised if he has another great year as a result.
He has won the bronze medal in 2004 in Athens and gold in 2008 and 2012 in Beijing and London, respectively.
If he wins another gold this year at Rio, it will be his third gold medal. No basketball player has ever won three gold medals, meaning that he is currently chasing history.
More importantly for the NBA, and especially Knicks fans, Melo has played his best ball after the Olympics.
After winning gold in 2008, Melo had his best season for the Denver Nuggets in the 2008-2009 season. Melo averaged just over 22 points but he led his Nuggets to the division title and, after failing to get past the first round in each of his first five seasons, finally got past that and advanced all the way to the conference finals.
After winning gold in 2012, Melo, up to this date, had his best season for the Knicks. He averaged 28.7 points that season, which won him the NBA scoring title. He led the Knicks to 54 wins, which was the first time the team won at least 50 games since the 1999-2000 season. That was good enough to win the division and he led the Knicks to the second round in the playoffs.
Those two seasons were the only years where Melo led his team past the first round of the playoffs.
Here he is this year, trying to help Team USA win another gold. Even though USA has not played up to its full potential yet, they are still 5-0 and are the favorites to win it all again. If they do, Melo will be a big reason why.
Even though he is older now and has had injuries in the last couple of seasons, don’t be surprised if he has another big year following the Olympics.
Melo has played very well in the Olympics in the past and, so far, he’s excelled overall this time around. He scored 20 points in the opener when the USA squared off with China. Anthony then passed LeBron James for most points scored by a USA basketball player in the Olympics when he scored 31 points against Australia. Even though he struggled overall against France on Sunday, he hit a huge three-pointer to help the United States hang on for the victory.
The Olympics seem to help him thrive. Perhaps playing competitive ball during the offseason brings out the best in the Knicks’ superstar and helps him get fully ready for the upcoming NBA season.
I know people might doubt his production this coming year with the age and the recent injuries. If Melo stays healthy, he is still an effective player. He may not average as many points as he usually does, but he has been a better all-around player, passing more and playing more defense.
In addition, he has become a better leader and has shown a lot of that in the Olympics. Some of his Olympic teammates have been raving about his leadership during the Rio games.
Expect Melo to have a big year for the Knicks this season, helping them improving their win total and make the playoffs. They can also possibly get past the first round in the weak Eastern Conference.
Why not? With the improvements they made this offseason, the opportunity is there.
If this all comes to fruition, Knicks fans should thank the Olympics for Melo’s sharp play once again.