The Rockets Land Melo
Imagine this, the year is 2013, the league's best regular season team just added Carmelo Anthony. He’ll be joining the reigning MVP in James Harden and the “Point God” himself in Chris Paul. That would have been amazing. Imagine this squad matched up with the Heatles in a super team brawl. It has all the makings of one of the best NBA finals of all time.
Unfortunately, it's 2018, and Carmelo Anthony just finished what was by far the worst season of his career. His decreasing effectiveness was exacerbated by the fact that he was and is in no way ready to take a bench role. This, on a defensively stout team where his necessity on that end of the floor was minimized in Oklahoma City. While the idea of having a previously elite scorer on the Thunder alongside PG and Westbrook was exciting going into the season, his contract soon turned into an albatross. Anthony had a hard time finding his shot and continued to be a black hole on the receiving end of a lot of Russel Westbrook (assist attempts) passes.
His season was bad enough to lead to a trade that sent him to the Atlanta Hawks who promptly waived him. The deal was such that Carmelo did not have to leave a single dime on the table. Somehow, some way, the Thunder were able to get him off the books and get Melo his bread.
Now Melo finds himself in free agency, one signature away from another payday and a shot at redemption. Luckily, that aforementioned “best regular season team” with the MVP and CP3 is going to be his new home. Carmelo just signed a deal that will send him to Houston where he might just find some of his old magic in a system that may suit his style, but that will definitely ask more of him defensively. At times the Thunder may have asked too much of the aging star. I mean, it shouldn’t have been too much but it ultimately was. With the loss of Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute and potentially Clint Capela, the Rockets will need at least a little something from Carmelo on the other end as it was their defense that lined them up nicely with the incredible Warriors.
Sure, we’re only a few years removed from his prolific scoring seasons, but is there any chance that that side of Melo makes a return, or is this fast hitting decline going to continue?
In the end I believe the Rockets have taken a step back from last season and nothing short of a complete re-imagination of his game will bring Carmelo back into the good graces of the league. Let’s pray Houston is as fun to watch as I thought OKC would be. If I could push a button that brought back Denver Melo, I’d do it immediately, watching those Nuggets teams was amazing but Father Time is undefeated and unfortunately Carmelo is his latest victim.