Rockets Players Believe Melo Will Fit Right In

One of the biggest stories from this past offseason was the whereabouts of Carmelo Anthony. Back at the end of July, Melo was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks. But he wouldn’t be staying in Atlanta long, as just 5 days later, Melo accepted a buyout from the team, landing him right on wavers. Dating back to the beginning of the offseason, there had been rumors of Melo linking up with close friend and 9-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul in Houston. And those rumors finally came to fruition on August 13th, where Anthony agreed to a $2.4 million contract with the Rockets.

Now, the 10-time All-Star is coming off of his worst season in his 15 years in the NBA. He averaged a career low 16.2 PPG on a career low 40.4% from the field. He also averaged career lows in blocks (.6 BPG), free-throw percentage (76.7%), and assists (1.3 APG). To say Melo’s season was anything but dismal would simply be wrong.

So what could be to blame? I think the most looming answer is the style of play that Billy Donovan ran in Oklahoma City. The offense was ran around guard Russell Westbrook, who led the league in field goal attempts for back-to-back seasons. This took away from Melo’s ability to control an offense, which he had done for many seasons in Denver and New York. He was no longer the center of the offense, and in fact took back seats to other players on the roster. This caused a huge problem because Carmelo’s playstyle clashed directly with Westbrook’s. I could’ve told you at the beginning of last season that the experimental “big three” in OKC last year (consisting of Melo, Westbrook, and Paul George) was doomed from the start.

So why will we see a Melo resurgence this season around a new roster with the Houston Rockets? Rockets forward PJ Tucker helps us start answering that question. He joined ESPN’s The Jump on Wednesday to discuss Melo and how he’ll fit in with the roster:

It’s easy to play with Chris Paul. It’s not hard. I don’t know anybody that ever said they can’t play with Chris Paul. He’s so good at running the game, getting everybody involved, getting guys in their spots. So, I think Melo will fall right in. It’ll be an easy adjustment for him.”

Tucker has a very solid point here. Back in OKC, it was safe to say Westbrook was a score-first point guard. Chris Paul, on the other hand, is a pass-first point guard. He looks to involve his teammates. He guides and controls the offense and is therefore able to get his teammates the looks and shots they want. He’ll help Melo get the open looks he needs to score the ball and put him into the best possible position to get open looks at the hoop.

And Tucker continued in the interview with this:

Everybody always talks about ‘Melo this, Melo that.’ Melo’s a great basketball player, first and foremost. Say what you want; he’s one of the all-time greatest scorers in the league. And coming on our team where we score the ball a lot, he’ll fit right in. He’ll adjust. He’s a vet. He knows what he’s doing. So, I think him just stepping in and replacing Trevor (Ariza)—well, really not even replacing Trevor—as an addition, he’ll fight right in on our team.”

Tucker is highlighting something that has rather been forgotten. This is Carmelo Anthony we’re talking about. He’s not just some veteran; he’s one of the greatest scorers in the history of the game and a sure Hall of Famer when all’s said and done. He’ll be able to quickly adjust to this offense that took more 3-pointers than any other team last season. Melo took the most 3’s of his entire career last season. He joins a trigger-happy team that capitalizes on beating their opponents with the deep ball.

And finally, today, MVP James Harden chimed in on why Melo will be integrated into the offense with ease. He had this to say to The Players’ Tribune:

“When you got that many high IQ guys around, who love to communicate and loves to figure things out, the job is easy.”

The team is full of talent and looks to improve upon their franchise-record 65-win season last year. They will rival the defending champion Golden State Warriors again as the two superteams will battle it out for a spot in the finals.

Feature Image via Flikr/Keith Allison

My name is Matthew Geyman. I am a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Baltimore Ravens, but really just enjoy watching and playing any sports (although I'm best at golf and basketball). I play electric guitar and my genre of choice (both for listening and playing) is heavy metal. In my free time, I like to read and play video games. My favorite books tend to be those of Greek mythology, although any book that is captivating is certainly going to interest me. As for video games, I delve into a wide spectrum, from sports games to adventure games to racing games. I also have a great passion for American history and enjoy reading primary documents or sources whenever given the opportunity.

Related posts