The Houston Rockets are expected to give Carmelo Anthony a bench role after he makes his long-awaited signing with the team.
Carmelo Anthony will take his physical with Houston on Monday and is also expected to officially sign with the Rockets on Monday. He’ll likely ink a one-year deal worth $2.4 million according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Hopefully Carmelo Anthony has changed his stance on accepting a bench role, because the Rockets plan on utilizing him in the second unit.
According to a report released by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday, the Rockets plan to bring Anthony off of the bench next season.
In the past, Anthony has been unwilling to consider coming off of the bench. When Anthony was still a member of the Thunder in April, he simply said that a bench role was “out of the question,” according to ESPN’s Royce Young. Just two weeks ago, Anthony claimed that only he knew when it would be time for him to accept a bench role, via The Undefeated’s Jemele Hill.
“I know how to play this game of basketball. I’ve been playing it for a long time. When I feel like I’m ready to take that role, then I’ll take that role. Only I know when it’s best for me to take that role. I’m not going to do that in a situation where I still know my capabilities and what I can do. And at the end of the day, the people who really matter know my capabilities and what I can still do. You start getting to the media and debates, it’s going to always be kind of back-and-forth.”
Perhaps, Anthony will be willing to accept a bench role when the season starts. That is simply what is best for the team. Houston’s defense last season was top 10 in large part because of the versatility of their front court. Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela had the ability to switch out on smaller players and contain them, which makes it very hard for opposing teams to effectively run the pick-and-roll.
But if Anthony starts, that wouldn’t be the case. Melo has lost a lot of his lateral quickness with age and he can’t quite keep up with quicker guards or wings anymore. With Houston’s defensive scheme, opposing teams would involve Anthony in every pick-and-roll until they get a favorable switch and then attack him, especially in the postseason. For Houston, starting a guy like James Ennis for defensive purposes would make a lot more sense.
Bringing Anthony off of the bench along with Eric Gordon and Gerald Green would give Houston’s second unit a ton of firepower. These guys can score from any area of the floor and can catch fire in an instant.
Also, just because Anthony doesn’t start games doesn’t mean he won’t finish them. Melo has been a clutch shot maker for his entire career, which means he’ll see plenty of playing time in the fourth quarter.
In the end, most people will agree that at this stage in his career, Melo is best served coming off of the bench. It’ll help keep his body rested for the postseason and its his best chance at fitting in well with Houston. Hopefully Anthony can swallow his pride and make the adjustment.