Why Is Carmelo Anthony So Successful in the Olympics?

In the U.S., Anthony is a nine-time NBA All-Star, but when he takes to the international hardcourt, he's so much more.

Through three games of pool play in Rio, the United States Men's Basketball Team is 3-0 so far in the 2016 Olympics. But that record could very easily be 2-1 if not for Carmelo Anthony's outstanding play.

In Wednesday night's matchup with Australia, the tournament favorites found themselves down five points going into the half -- the first time they've trailed at the midway point since the 2004 Olympics.

Team USA managed to come back from the deficit quickly to start the third with nine straight points. And it was at that point that the Americans turned it on and blew the Aussies out of the water, right? Wrong.

Australia battled the United States into the fourth quarter, but with roughly seven and a half minutes remaining, the United States took control and never looked back. The deciding play -- none other than an Anthony three-ball.

That was one of Melo's four -- count 'em, four -- fourth-quarter treys and nine total three-balls for the contest. After weathering the storm, Anthony ended the 98-88 win with 31 points on 11 of 21 shooting, consisting of an incredible 9 of 15 from three-point land. So, if Melo's international experience wasn't already a storyline, it certainly is after that performance.

Some people turned around and started talking about whether or not the United States are vulnerable after such an up-and-down performance. But we all know the answer is "no."

Carmelo's dominance is the most important takeaway. After all, he's now the United States' all-time leading scorer.

What is it, though, that makes Anthony so deadly in international play?

It Goes Without Saying

Even before adding a couple pounds upon entering the Association, Anthony was heralded for his physical attributes he displayed as a member of the Syracuse Orangemen. Nowadays, he stands 6'8" and a solid 240 pounds. And it's that powerful yet athletic frame that gives Anthony an advantage over so many of his Olympic opponents.

Anthony, who also shines from the perimeter when necessary, doesn't shy away from physical play down low. Unlike Paul George and a few other teammates, Anthony isn't complaining about the Aussies' rough, or even chippy, play. With his power advantage, Carmelo thrives in such games, especially when challenged by inferior defenders. Joe Ingles (6'8", 226) wasn't big or athletic enough to corral him and Aron Baynes (6'10", 260) wasn't fleet-footed enough to keep up.

Not many players in the world -- especially those outside America -- can compete with that type of God-given form.

It's Painful to Admit

Teammates. Sharing the load, skilled passers. Has only played with two players (in Denver, Nene and Allen Iverson) who have amassed double-digit win shares during an NBA season. Neither really created for others.

Since arriving in New York, there really hasn't been anyone to create for Anthony or to play off of Anthony and have a great season of their own.

We'll see what will happen this year, after New York went out and added Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to a starting five that already contains the rising Kristaps Porzingis. But in case things don't work out, Anthony should cherish the teammates he has at his side at the moment.

As a matter of fact, the most recent starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and George, combined for 17.1 assists per game and 34.4 win shares this past NBA season.

It's More Than Inches

As we learned from Anthony's three-point barrage Wednesday night, he's really good from beyond the arc in international play -- especially in comparison to his three-point shooting in NBA competition.

Carmelo Anthony 3PM/Game 3PA/Game 3-Pt Percentage
Olympic Career 2.0 4.5 44.0%
NBA Career 1.1 3.3 34.4%

In Olympic play, Anthony is shooting more threes, making more threes, and shooting a far better percentage from range. The near 10-point difference in his percentage is the most telling. But as we find the reason for such a change, it's definitely understandable.

What it all boils down to is Anthony's stroke and how it is both limited and lethal at the same time.

Thanks to, the numbers do the work of deciphering that riddle.

Carmelo Anthony3PM/Game3PA/Game3-Pt Percentage
25' to 29'
20' to 24'

Carmelo AnthonyFGM/GFGA/GFG%
20 Feet to 23'9"

In case you don't recall, the NBA three-point line is 23'9" while the international arc is 22'1.75". That's the reason for the breakdown of Anthony's 2015-16 shooting numbers above.

Anthony clearly excels in the mid-range much more than he does from deep. With an emphasis on efficiency in the NBA, Anthony doesn't take as many long-range two-pointers, but he shoots a definitively better percentage.

This is supported even more by Anthony's mark of 45.8% from 15 to 19 feet this past year -- 11 percentage points better than his percentage from the range 10 feet farther from the goal.

To put it briefly, Anthony isn't an effective NBA three-point shooter, but he is an effective international three-point shooter. That, in association with his physical attributes and better talent surrounding him, is what makes Carmelo one of the best players in the history of the United States' Olympic basketball team.