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There’s Hoodie Melo and Olympic Melo. However, while we’ve seen versions of the previous two here in Oklahoma City, it’s Acceptance Melo who has arrived just in time as the Oklahoma City Thunder have rolled off eight straight wins.

It’s easy for Carmelo Anthony to just take any shot he wants. He’s getting paid to do that. While it’s not exactly what the Thunder want, it’s more of what he would want. However, if Anthony was to do that, the Thunder probably would be less than a .500 team and more questions would be asked on why the Thunder traded for a player that can be known as selfish and a poor defender. He’s not a great defender and is north of 33 years old.

Yet, he’s bought in. It’s been Russell Westbrook who’s had the largest adjustment, trying to accommodate everyone. Anthony has taken a lesser role. A man, who’s in his 16th season sees the finishing line and what’s really important: that bling.

Since Dec. 1, Anthony’s numbers have elevated. He’s shooting over 36 percent from three, grabbing over six boards per game. While he’s not scoring over 22 points per game, like he did in October, he’s taking his shots in more efficient settings.

“I think any time you’re making shots you feel good about yourself and what you’re doing, what the team is doing,” Anthony said.

For Anthony his Hall of Fame legacy is already intact. He’s a prolific scorer at a pace that most players would dream of. Currently, he’s only the third active player in NBA history to reach the 25,000 career point plateau.

“Once you accept something, regardless of what it is, I think you become comfortable with it,” Anthony said. “You start putting your all into it, you start working on that role and on that acceptance, and it becomes fun. I think right now, after accepting that role, I think early in December, the game is starting to become fun again for me, fun for us as a team. Any time you get to making shots and winning basketball games, it makes it that much more fun.”

“We know he can put up 50 points a game if he wanted to,” Patrick Patterson said about Anthony. “If his shot’s falling, we’re going to find him as much as possible.”

Anthony showed in impressive wins over the Lakers and Cavaliers, he still has it. He scored 27 and 29 points respectively.

“Sometimes you get caught staring a little bit and I’ve gotta remind myself, ‘I am on a team with somebody else that can do that,'” Anthony said of Westbrook. “Do some of the things that you’ve been doing or you’re capable of doing or you’ve been doing throughout your whole career.”

For the Thunder, having Anthony be accepting of that third option role has really allowed Westbrook and Paul George to thrive. Since Anthony’s comments in December, both players have played at exceptional levels and Westbrook has been infused back into the MVP discussion.

Thunder love Accepting Melo. The tandem has worked out well for both. Anthony is in better shape than ever, as he’s not required to do as much. The Thunder now have a third option in which they’ve missed over the seasons, including last season when they only had 1½ options.

“For the most part, it’s just accepting the fact that you’re not going to be the man every single night or have to be the man every single night,” Anthony said. “So, for me, I’ve accepted that.”

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.