Rockets rumors: Houston source says Carmelo Anthony was a scapegoat

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A source close to the Houston Rockets says the team unfairly laid too much blame on Carmelo Anthony after Houston’s slow start last season.

It took a few years of recruiting for the Houston Rockets to finally acquire Carmelo Anthony, but the two sides decided to part ways after just a few weeks.

Anthony seemed to comply with the requests from the coaching staff, but ultimately he just didn’t fit in with the team’s vision going forward.

However, some close to the organization feel as if Melo was treated unfairly. A source close to the Rockets, who won just 4 of their first 10 games, said the team put too much of the blame for their slow start on Anthony, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“A lot of the blame was put on Carmelo, but he really should have thrived with the offense and system if the season started properly health-wise. Melo was the scapegoat.”

With James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Nene and James Ennis all nursing various injuries to start the season, Melo averaged 29.4 minutes per game during his tenure with Houston, even though he was supposed to take on a reserve role. With Houston losing games left and right, the team decided to part ways with Anthony after just 10 games before eventually trading him to the Bulls.

In his 10 games with the Rockets, Carmelo averaged a career low 13.4 points and grabbed 5.4 rebounds per game. He also shot just 40.5 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from 3-point range. Clearly, Anthony is no longer in his prime, but Houston definitely could’ve used an 13 points per game throughout the season when they relied so heavily on James Harden to carry the offense.

Also, we can’t forget that other Rockets’ players were also in massive shooting slumps during Anthony’s tenure. Eric Gordon shot just 32.1 percent from the floor and 23.6 percent from downtown over his first seven games of the season, before sitting out the last three games of Anthony’s tenure, cutting even further into Houston’s depth. Gerald Green also shot just 36.4 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from 3-point range over the same timespan. Lastly, CP3 shot just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.1 percent from 3-point range to open the season.

Yes, Melo struggled out of the gate, but he actually had better shooting percentages than a few of Houston’s core players. However, the combination of Anthony’s low shooting numbers in addition to his poor defense is likely what forced the Rockets’ hand.

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After his departure, every player and coach in the Rockets’ organization had nothing but positive things to say about Anthony’s time with the team. The future Hall of Famer deserves an encore season and it would be great to see another NBA team give him a shot.