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Derek Fisher says Carmelo Anthony is embracing leadership

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony celebrates with

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony celebrates with Jose Calderon during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in New York. Credit: AP / Adam Hunger

Derek Fisher has accepted Carmelo Anthony's challenge to call him out in front of the team if he's not doing what he's supposed to on either end of the court.

Fisher believes Anthony is being a good leader.

"I think he's just letting everyone know he's accepting more leadership and expects to be held accountable," Fisher said before the Knicks' 101-95 preseason victory over the Celtics Friday night at the Garden. "We have a group of guys that all want to be treated that way, and so I think he's just expressing to make sure everybody else knows."

Anthony (eight points) is a prolific scorer who has been known to take possessions off defensively. But he revealed this week that he "challenged" the coaching staff to single him out in video sessions. The Knicks' lone All-Star said he thinks it will "bring the best out of me and the best out of everyone on the team."

Anthony hasn't been limited in his return from season-ending left knee surgery last February. He has said and done everything necessary to show he's committed to the Knicks and their rebuilding effort.

Anthony reportedly was unhappy that the Knicks drafted the relatively unknown Kristaps Porzingis fourth overall when players such as Justise Winslow, Emmanuel Mudiay and Stanley Johnson were available. Rumors also swirled that Anthony was displeased that the Knicks didn't acquire any stars with the nearly $30 million that team president Phil Jackson had for free agency.

Anthony has said those stories bothered him, and replied "hell no" when he was asked if he would seek a trade if the Knicks struggle again this season.

The Knicks, who are 4-0 in the preseason, should be markedly improved, particularly on the defensive end, with the signings of Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Kyle O'Quinn. But Anthony's mental and physical health are critical to the team's success. The Knicks are happy with what they've seen and heard.

"I think it's well documented that when quote-unquote best players and star players allow themselves to be held accountable, it makes it easier for everybody else to fall in line and accept the coaching and teaching that every player needs," Fisher said. "I don't think that's any different from any other situation, and it works the same for us."

Notes & quotes: Afflalo was 3-for-6 with eight points in eight minutes in his Knicks debut. He missed the first three games with a strained left hamstring. Derrick Williams' 19 points led the Knicks.


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