LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Former Nuggets coach George Karl explains Carmelo Anthony-LeBron James dynamic

George Karl speculates on what it will be like to see Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James play as teammates now that they are with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Few coaches know what Carmelo Anthony can and can’t do than his former Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl.

Anthony is in the twilight of his NBA career and has teamed up with his fellow draft classmate LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers. Karl appeared on Tiki and Tierney last week to discuss what Anthony can bring to the Lakers now that he is James’ teammate. He knows how talented Anthony was in his prime, but Karl does seem to have some trepidation about this partnership.

“The truth of the matter is I think Melo wanted to be on the same level as LeBron, and liked competing against LeBron,” said Karl on Tiki and Tierney. “I know when we played LeBron when I coached Melo, Melo got fired up, he got into the game. When I was in Denver, we had a winning record against LeBron. I think it was more of Melo understanding he was not on the same level of LeBron and his light was fading while LeBron’s was still shining. ”

Karl does believe that Anthony’s role in the last two to three seasons will make things easier.

George Karl on how Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James could play together

“The last two or three years, Melo has been great,” said Karl. “I wish Melo would’ve accepted this role of being a bench player, instead of two years ago, four or five years ago because I think he would’ve won Sixth Man of the Year award. I think he would’ve been like Jamal Crawford.”

This is the type of role Anthony will have the 2021-22 Lakers, as he will almost certainly be coming off the bench in somewhat of a sixth man role. There is a great chance he could be playing the small-ball four with James running the offense as a point forward. James will put Anthony in position to make plays with his brilliant passing, while Anthony will knock down his shot attempts.

Overall, it has been a long time since Karl last coached Anthony. People evolve, as do their games. With Anthony embracing his role as a go-to scorer off the bench when he was with the Portland Trail Blazers, one could believe he could pair nicely on James’ Lakers going forward. This is all about self-awareness, something Anthony seems to have found in the latter part of his career.

Karl seems to believe the Anthony-James tandem can work, but both must embrace his role.

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