With Chris Paul now on the Houston Rockets, Is Carmelo Anthony the next star to join James Harden?
The NBA free agency period has kicked off in style. With rumors flying around, it seems the Houston Rockets are in the middle of everything this off-season. Chris Paul is now a Rocket, and another star has his eyes set on joining him. It is no secret that the Rockets were going to chase after Carmelo Anthony. However, just a couple of days ago, it was announced that Melo is willing to waive his no-trade clause to join CP3 and James Harden.
Cleveland is also a suitor for Melo and will chase him just as aggressively.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2017
So, just how does Melo fit with the Houston Rockets? Will the effects of his past relationship with Mike D’Antoni get in the way again? The results could be better than most think.
Can Melo fit with the Houston Rockets?
The quick answer is that he absolutely can. For starters, he would be coming to a situation where he doesn’t have to be “the man.” Coach D’Antoni’s offense suits a player like Melo who can shoot from just about anywhere on the floor. And with being the third option, the offense won’t run through him. There is no doubt that Melo has been an outstanding isolation scorer. However, he has never had a true playmaker to be paired with. Enter CP3 and “The Beard” to his rescue.
In addition to having two great playmakers, Melo adds some much-needed scoring depth. With Melo, the Houston Rockets become a nightmare to defend. While Melo is only a career 35% 3-point shooter, he adds a great mid-range game. That will come in handy on nights when the 3-pointer isn’t falling through.
Whenever Chris Paul got traded to Houston, Stephen A. Smith talked about a Carmelo to the Rockets signing via buyout:
With starters like Trevor Ariza and CP3, and with P.J. Tucker coming off the bench, Melo has help on both ends of the court. With that help, his defense can improve. Melo’s role here would be simple. Be an offensive force and help out on defense when he can. With the Houston Rockets, Melo offers help in a variety of ways.
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What Position Would He Play?
What is known so far is that the Houston Rockets are trying to add a player who just averaged 22.4 points, around 6 rebounds, and 3 assists a game on 43.3% shooting (35% from three). But where in the line-up does Coach D’Antoni insert him? Does Melo play at the power forward, or does he switch him and place Ariza at the 4? The best scenario is playing Melo at the 4. While standing at 6’8″, he is a mismatch at power forward on the offensive end. On defense, he can remain fresh at the end and not have to guard the likes of Kevin Durant and Paul George as often.
If the Houston Rockets were to get Melo, it would be a mad scientist experiment. But a fun one for Mike D’Antoni. The matchup problems that arise for other teams would be fun to watch. Melo still has plenty left in the tank. However, his chances of winning are waning. He is 33 years old and the time is now if he wants a title. It is a difficult task for Daryl Morey and company. But never underestimate the ambitious Rockets GM.
*All stats via Basketball-Reference*