George Karl is the former head coach of Carmelo Anthony, and the New York Knicks' star experienced his longest postseason run under Karl in 2009.
Karl discussed Anthony and how his talent has not led to consistent winning with the Knicks. Karl did not disagree that Anthony could be best described as the prototypical AAU player who generates the most energy through his own shooting.
“There’s no question that he wants to win and his I.Q. for the game is actually very good,” Karl said. “He always wants to think like a coach, but he always doesn’t want to sign the contract with the coach.
“I think Melo respected me and I think he respects Mike Woodson. But I don’t think Melo understands that coming to work with the best attitude every single day is a precious commodity when you’re the best player. That’s not the same thing as playing hard. That’s bringing the total package, 100 percent focused on all the little things. Those are rare breeds. Kevin Garnett. Michael Jordan. LeBron didn’t always have it, but he has it now.
“Melo doesn’t get an A in that department — maybe not much more than a B-minus. It is, in a sense, the A.A.U. mind-set: We worked hard yesterday, maybe we can take a day off today. That’s why he really needs that player — the point guard or someone who takes on that role — to be the bridge from the coach to him.”
Karl praised the impact of Chauncey Billups during the Denver Nuggets' run to the Western Conference Finals in 2009.
“He had that championship mentality from Detroit that my team didn’t have,” Karl said. “It’s hard to define what that actually is, but I think it’s a combination of things: the leadership, the calming of a locker room, the peer pressure of making sure the right stuff is being talked about.”
In how that related to Anthony, Karl added, “He’s got to have that mental toughness around him for when he gets a little selfish.”