The Carmelo Anthony experiment has not gone according to plan. Would waiving him fix the Houston Rockets’ problems?
Sunday, November 11 was crazy for Carmelo Anthony and the Houston Rockets. Rumors swirled about how the Rockets planned to waive the 10-time All-Star, but they were promptly denied by GM Daryl Morey.
About an hour later, the Rockets played some of their best basketball of the season, defeating a solid Indiana Pacers team 115-103. The squad looked perfectly fine without Carmelo on the court, who was sidelined due to illness.
Some still think that Houston parting ways with Anthony should be a foregone conclusion, while others think that Morey and Mike D’antoni need to give Carmelo longer than 10 games played to prove his worth. The reality is that there are probably only a few people that really know what is going on behind the scenes, leaving the rest of us to speculate. So speculate we will.
The ultimate question is: would getting rid of Carmelo fix the Rockets?
The short answer is no. As Dwyane Wade mentioned on Twitter, the problems that the Rockets have right now are much bigger than just one person. Houston currently ranks 23rd in the league in offensive rating and 19th in defensive rating, after ranking first and seventh in those categories last season, respectively. To place all, or even a majority, of the blame on one person is simply unfair.
Trying to make my guy @carmeloanthony the fall guy huh!? Man y’all need to stop. That’s the easy way out instead of addressing what the real problem.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 12, 2018
But while the departure of the 34-year old would not magically solve all of the team’s problems, it would help the Rockets get back on the right track.
Three of the biggest things to blame the Rockets’ slow start on are poor shooting and offensive production, constant injury, and an apparent lack of team chemistry at times. While Carmelo has had nothing to do with his teammates picking up untimely injuries, he has had an impact on the team’s scoring and chemistry. Waiving Melo would hopefully improve these things.
Without Anthony on the floor on Sunday night, the Rockets executed their offensive game plan to the fullest and scored 76 points in the first half, building a lead that Indiana couldn’t overcome.
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In the victory, Houston took exactly zero shots that were not 3-pointers or in the paint. It’s this type of play that brings tears of joy to Morey’s eyes. But the fact of the matter is that a midrange maestro like Carmelo just doesn’t fit within the system.
It was hoped that Carmelo would provide a strong scoring punch off the bench (see Williams, Lou), but he is shooting just 40.5% from the field this season with an uninspiring 32.8% mark from 3-point range while averaging a career-low 13.4 points per game.
There have been a few bright spots for the forward, but they are just too few and far between to justify taking away minutes from rookie Gary Clark, who is hustling his way into being a key piece in the Rockets puzzle. If Carmelo was let go, it would open up more minutes for the development of both Clark and James Ennis, helping the Rockets in the long run.
Waiving Anthony would also improve the team’s chemistry off the court. All things considered, I have been really impressed with how well Carmelo has done to fit within the role given to him without complaint.
But the reality is that as long as he is in the locker room, questions about his happiness, role, and shot selection will not go away. The last thing that the Rockets need as they look to climb out of the hole they have dug for themselves is unnecessary distractions. Whether Carmelo likes it or not, he is an attention magnet, and it’s usually not for the best.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest scorers to ever walk this planet. But his age, style of play, and severe decline in production leave Houston with little choice but to let him go. Will that fix all of Houston’s problems? No. But it certainly could help.
All stats provided by NBA Stats.