Now that Carmelo Anthony has officially been waived by the Atlanta Hawks, he is free to sign with whatever team he chooses and that team turns out to be the Houston Rockets. Within the next few days, Melo will be signing with Houston for the veteran’s minimum slotted at $2.4 million. Now we can ask the question that has been on every basketball fan’s mind: How will Melo fit in with his new team?
Last season was a forgettable one for the 34 year old. Although he still managed over 16 PPG and almost 6 rebounds, Melo did so inefficiently with a shooting slash of 40.4/35.7/76.7 and never seemed to find a niche alongside fellow All Stars, Russell Westbrook and Paul George. For the first time since his days playing alongside Allen Iverson in Denver, Melo was not “the man” and had to take the backseat to two superstars in their prime. As a result, the Thunder were bounced in the first round of the 2018 playoffs by Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz. Perhaps a change of scenery could help Melo, more specifically a change of scenery where he will be playing with one of his best friends in Chris Paul.
It is no mystery that the Houston Rockets lost a lot of talent this year with Trevor Ariza joining the Suns and Luc Mbah a Moute returning to the Clippers in the hopes of resigning Chris Paul and big man Clint Capela. With the loss of Ariza and Mbah a Moute, Houston lost two of their most versatile defenders to help mask James Harden’s defensive deficiencies and two capable three point shooters to alleviate the pressure from CP3 and The Beard. With the signing of Melo, neither of those two issues are addressed, as Melo is a career 34.7% shooter from deep and is a sieve on the less glamorous end. Could he see improved efficiency number alongside two passing maestros? It’s possible, but then again he had one of the best passers in the league last year in Westbrook to feed him the ball.
Carmelo Anthony is no longer the perennial All Star that he once was just a couple of seasons ago. The sooner Carmelo realizes that, the better he and the Houston Rockets will be. As much as he hates to hear it, Melo must be able to accept a bench role at this stage of his career for the good of the team. As it stands right now, SportsLine, the CBS analytic division has the Rockets’ chances of an NBA title at 3.9%, down from 4.8% pre-Melo signing. I wish Melo the best as he enters a new stage of his career and hopefully this stage is one where he accepts a bench role to allow him to do what he does best: score in iso sets. The best case scenario for Melo is being a sparkplug off the bench for Houston and bolstering a strong second unit. The worst case scenario? Well, we all saw what he did in Oklahoma City.
University of South Carolina ’21