Carmelo Anthony did an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith discussing how his experience in Houston really affected him. Did the Rockets do him wrong? Here’s what I think!
By now, you likely know Carmelo Anthony went on ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith discussing his time with the Rockets. Carmelo was very open and transparent about exactly what happened in Houston and how he felt about it all. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think the Rockets did Melo wrong, nor were they unfair.
For starters, he says the Rockets had been wanting him for three years, which should have shown him how much they valued his game and his abilities prior to him coming here. The Rockets took a flyer on Melo even after his worst season of his career in Oklahoma City. The Rockets were still willing to give him a chance. Melo is delusional if he thinks he was the “missing piece” for the Rockets, because there were legitimate questions of whether or not he would fit here in Houston, and rightfully so. But Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni were willing to take a chance on him and unite him with his close friend Chris Paul, despite the challenges he had with D’Antoni in New York.
During this interview, Melo said he took the “ultimate step back” by coming off the bench. This is also an overstatement because Melo played 29.4 minutes per game during the brief time he was here in Houston, which are more than reserve minutes. To put this in perspective, Lou Williams, the 2019 SIxth Man of the Year, played in 26.6 minutes per game. Furthermore, Melo played more minutes per game than each of the Sixth Man finalists, despite things not necessarily working out on the court. This is because the Rockets were trying to be fair to him and do right by him. By comparison, Eric Gordon, who was in the starting rotation, played 31.7 minutes per game. I think you get the point.
Melo says when Morey notified him that his services were no longer needed, the decision caught him off guard. In my opinion, Melo should have saw it coming as it’s not like he was fitting in on the floor. The Rockets went 4-6 during the 10 games Melo was on the roster, but to be fair to him, that wasn’t just because of him.
There were many other problems the Rockets were having, but Melo was off to a bad shooting year by his standards, which is what the Rockets brought him in for. His 40.5% field goal percentage was the second worst in his 16 year career and his 32.8% three point percentage was the worst in his previous nine years, so it shouldn’t have come as a shock to Melo that the Rockets wanted to end the experiment. And, he said during the interview with Stephen A that he was really struggling within himself to accept the reserve role, so if he was unhappy, the Rockets did him a favor anyways, right?
Melo also claims that Morey had it pre-determined to let him go, but if that were really the case, why would the Rockets have allowed him to struggle for 10 games if they really didn’t plan on giving him a fair chance on the roster?
Melo also talked about how professional he conducted himself in Houston and how he never missed a practice, but isn’t that what he should be expected to do? I would expect a 16 year veteran to come to practice and do what is asked, so I don’t necessarily think Carmelo should be praised for doing his job.
I realize I may be coming on quite strong, but I don’t think the Rockets did Carmelo wrong. I do understand the fact that he felt crushed, as he said, and it made him question if he could play the game any longer. But was that only because of the fact that the Rockets let him go or was that also based on how he was playing on the court?
I understand Melo’s ego took a hit from the Rockets deciding to let him go, but personally I think the bigger ego hit was the fact that after being a free agent, Melo couldn’t get any team in the league to take a chance on him during that season and even still now. The biggest fuel Melo should have is the fact that he can’t even get an invite to play for Team USA, despite nearly everyone backing out and despite his legendary status for USA Basketball!
It’s not wrong for Melo to feel wronged and/or be emotional about how things went here in Houston, but just because he may feel wronged doesn’t necessarily mean he was done wrong by the Rockets. Hopefully Melo is using this as a chip on his shoulder and is ready to get past the notion that the Rockets had it out for him.