Entering his 16th season, Carmelo Anthony will suit up for his fourth NBA after signing a 1-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Houston Rockets. The one time NBA scoring Champion was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team trade where the Oklahoma City Thunder received Dennis Schroder and Timothe Luwau-Cabarrot from the Philadelphia 76ers. But true Melo fans know that the Hawks wasn’t enough for him. On July 30th, Carmelo agreed on a contract buyout from the Hawks and was placed on waivers. Anthony will now be joining the current NBA MVP James Harden and his longtime friend Chris Paul on a team that was one win away from the NBA Finals. But is Carmelo enough to get past the Warriors?
Carmelo Anthony to Houston still raises some red flags. Most commentators aren’t sure how this move is supposed to work. Yes, Anthony isn’t the player he used to be, but that isn’t the only issue. Coach Mike D’Antoni and Anthony couldn’t even last an entire season together 6 years ago in New York. D’Antoni’s fast-paced pick and roll offense didn’t mesh well with the iso-heavy offense Anthony demanded back in 2012 and Coach D’Antoni was soon out the door. D’Antoni system seems to be successful with Houston’s big three Harden, Paul and Capela as they made the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2015. Anthony will have to come into Houston to accept his role which may be coming off the bench, something he should be warming up to after his time in Oklahoma.
Working with Russell Westbrook and Paul George wasn’t easy for Carmelo, at least their efforts didn’t exceed NBA fan expectations. But what can we expect from a new situation that isn’t really that different? Chris Paul is a tradition NBA point guard who looks to makes plays for his teammates, while James Harden (like Anthony) is a player that needs the ball in his hand. With the loss of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute the Rockets are in need of a starting forward and Carmelo Anthony is still one of the greatest scorers of his generation. The Rockets can plan to have a shootout with the Warriors, but they’ll still need to stop the Warriors by playing defense.
This should be the biggest concern for all Houston Rockets fans because Carmelo Anthony was never a good defender and in his 16th season, it is very uncertain what he can give you. That is the biggest risk of signing Carmelo Anthony, his relationship with Coach D’Antoni is at its best the two have worked closely with each other getting Gold in the Olympics for USA. Melo understands that he may have to be a role player if he didn’t he wouldn’t have signed a 1-year deal for just the veterans minimum. The Rockets have signed a once phenomenal offensive player who can still give you 20 points and 7 rebounds on any given night, now the task for Coach D’Antoni is to find a way to make it work.