At first I picked Chris Paul but Melo is a bigger question mark at this point in his career. Carmelo Anthony has finally joined the Houston Rockets. After being traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder we all expected him to head to the Rockets so the coverage around the move was minimal. Carmelo is coming off his worst season as a pro and many wonder if he has enough left in the tank to get the Rockets pass the Warriors in the Western Conference.
Last season was the first time that Anthony failed to average 20 ppg in his career. Even as a rookie he averaged 21 ppg. Melo has always been known for taking a tough 2-pointer and things continued in Oklahoma City. Only this time the magnifying glass was even bigger on him because he was playing with two other All-Stars. Melo took 1168 shots, his lowest since the lockout season. He shot just 40% from the field which is a career low. He only had 18 games over 50% shooting and he took less than 16 shots per game. Playing with other stars didn’t make him more efficient.
The world thought Olympic Melo would come out in OKC. Anthony didn’t want to be full-time Olympic Melo. He still wanted to be hoodie Melo or All-Star Melo and it didn’t work out. Don’t get it twisted he can still score and shoot the ball but he has to accept that role. Despite the bad 2-point shooting, he still shot 35% from 3-point range and knocked down a career best 169 3-pointers. That might go up considering he’s playing with the Rockets and they launch 40+ 3-pointers a game.
The trouble will always be there on the defensive side. Melo is replacing Trevor Ariza, a guy who did everything for them defensively and still managed to hit 170 3-pointers, just one more than Carmelo. Melo was attacked on pick and rolls in the first round series against the Utah Jazz and expect the Warriors and other teams to do the same thing all season long but especially in the playoffs.
We already know Chris Paul and James Harden will have the ball in their hands the majority of the time. They play a lot of ISO ball with some pick and rolls thrown in to get Capela something easy. Melo will have a ton of open shots. Even more so than playing with Westbrook and Paul George. It has been discussed that he might come off the bench for the Rockets. If he’s willing to accept that role this might be a bounce back season for Carmelo Anthony.