Our interview with Houston Rockets broadcaster and former player Matt Bullard
Knight: Speaking of his position, he said he’s open to the idea of coming off the bench. Do you think he’ll start or play a role off the bench?
Bullard: I’m not sure what the starting lineup is going to be, that’s one of the things it’s important to have training camp for, to let everyone be able to compete for all the positions. James and Chris are pretty locked in [laughs], but that competition on your roster is what makes your team better. To have Carmelo, and let’s say James Ennis and P.J. Tucker and Ryan Anderson, those guys are all competing for a starting spot. That competition is going to be good for the team.
I can see Carmelo coming off the bench with the second unit with Chris and Eric Gordon and the Rockets having a devastating bench group. I don’t see any other team that can compete with that kind of lineup coming in with your second unit.
Also, I think Carmelo, now that he’s older, and I experienced this as I got older, it’ll get harder [for him] to play the small forward spot. Your lateral quickness gets slower and you get slower. I could see him playing the stretch four for the Rockets, draining wide open threes that are created for him and being able to guard the power forward/stretch four spot a lot easier for him than if he was a small forward.
Knight: Definitely, I see him getting a lot more wide open shots than he’s ever seen in his life.
Bullard: Exactly. If he looks at it like Team USA, where he’s the all-time leading scorer and rebounder, he’s going to be playing with two other Hall of Fame caliber guys, so that’s gonna make the game a lot easier for him. I’m hoping he’ll come and embrace that role and let James and Chris make the game easier for him.
Knight: If he does end up coming off the bench, he should look to the example of Eric Gordon, who started most of his career and has excelled off the bench for the Rockets.
Bullard: Exactly, and if he is able to embrace that role, he could easily be Sixth Man of the Year. Wouldn’t that be a great accomplishment for everything he’s done in his career up to this point now to embrace a different role? I know James and Chris have been talking to him about that, saying that [they’re] gonna try to get [Carmelo] Sixth Man of the Year and that will be just another accolade to look back on when he’s an old man.
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