NBA

Carmelo Anthony.

Carmelo Anthony says he's learning to accept his new role with OKC

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After coming together as the latest big three in the NBA, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony knew that playing together would be an adjustment.

All three players have been used to dominating the ball throughout their careers but they're trying to figure out ways to share the load with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They've had the inevitable teething problems so far this season but even after 33 games, they are still searching for the right solutions to best utilize the trio in the same lineup.

This has led to inconsistency throughout the campaign for the Thunder and they've often looked disjointed and completely out of rhythm offensively.

In recent weeks, with OKC struggling for wins, Westbrook has decided to step up and take a lead role.

He's looked to get back to the play that made him the MVP last year and has significantly increased his shot attempts and usage.

As a result, his All-Star teammates have had to play off the ball a lot more and allow him to take control of games.

Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks

As one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, this is a completely new role for Anthony but it's one he's willing to accept.

"I think for me it's just a matter of accepting that role. That's all it is," Anthony said, per ESPN's Royce Young. "Realizing that's what it's going to be, these are the type of shots I'm going to get, this is the type of offense we're going to be running and accepting that, and working on that role.

"That's something that I've kind of been doing over the past week, is allowing myself to accept that role and do whatever I gotta do to make this team win."

The veteran played his role to perfection in the Thunder's 119-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks

The small forward was deployed as a spot-up shooter by head coach Billy Donovan and he knocked down a season-high 7-of-12 from three-point range and finished with 24 points.

"I give him a lot of credit because this is different for him, and he's really been open-minded about trying to do whatever he can do to help the team," Donovan said.

"And as a coach you really appreciate someone that's been in the game such a long time and established himself as a 10-time All-Star, 14 years in the league, one of the all-time greats, that he's willing to look at ways that he can do things a little bit differently to help our team."

Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks

Melo can still take over games and score at will but with Westbrook and George by his side, he can instead conserve his energy and benefit from open looks that they create.

OKC will hope that the new version of Carmelo can finally help them find a perfect style that allows them to be successful this season.

Topics:
Northwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Russell Westbrook
Oklahoma City Thunder
Paul George
Indiana Pacers
Central Division
Eastern Conference

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