Today on the ESPN show The Jump, one Houston Rockets forward endorsed the signing of the summer for the team.
P.J. Tucker had a fantastic first season for the Houston Rockets. He fit right into the system the team is looking to play, knocking down shots and playing stellar defense all year long.
He is someone who can fit into any forward position on the court and can even play center at times for the team. Last year, especially in the playoffs, the Rockets implemented a lineup that saw him be an extremely small-ball center. It worked very well against the Warriors among other teams.
Now, he’ll be playing alongside one of the greatest scorers of all time, Carmelo Anthony. While Melo isn’t quite in his prime anymore, he still can have solid games scoring the basketball. Tucker realizes this and had some good things to say about his new teammate on The Jump, an ESPN show.
PJ Tucker on how Carmelo Anthony fits with the #Rockets: “Everybody always talks about Melo this, Melo that. Melo is a great basketball player. He’s an all time great scorer in this league. Coming to a team where we score a lot, he’ll fit right in on our team.”
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) August 22, 2018
Whether Melo starts or not, these two players could see quite a bit of playing time next to each other on the court. Let’s take a look at how they fit in the Rockets’ scheme on both ends.
Their fit together on offense
This side of the ball should go about as smoothly as P.J. Tucker put it. The Rockets score quite a bit, and if Melo is willing to take a slightly smaller role than he has in years past, he can be a great weapon for the team.
Last season, 2.8 out of 3.8 of P.J. Tucker’s 3-pointers a game were wide open. The effect of playing alongside Hall of Fame level playmakers like Chris Paul and James Harden is great for role players in the offense of the Rockets.
Carmelo Anthony last year, on the other hand, had just 2.5 of his 6.1 shots from deep wide open. No offense to Russell Westbrook and Paul George, but they aren’t the same level of playmakers that Harden and Paul are. On those wide open shots, Carmelo shot a very-efficient 41.9%. If he has a Tucker-like amount of wide open shots, that could be very dangerous.
Their fit together on defense
This is where things get a little more tricky for the Rockets. Carmelo Anthony and P.J. Tucker are just about opposites on that end of the court.
At this point in his career, Melo is best suited to be guarding power forwards. That was one of the positions that Tucker guarded last season, especially in the playoffs. He has the ability to guard the perimeter and will likely need to show that ability more this season.
With Ariza and Mbah a Moute gone, Tucker will likely be the one tasked with guarding the team’s best forward. Both Tucker and new addition James Ennis will likely split that duty this season. Melo, on the other hand, will likely primarily be hidden on defense, as that is certainly not his strength.
Offensively, Melo and P.J. should fit well next to each other. On the defensive end, though, it may take some time to adjust. It’s a long season, so I bet the Rockets can figure out something that will work best.