On Monday, Carmelo Anthony officially signed a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets.
In doing so, he joined one of the NBA’s top teams under the guidance of coach Mike D’Antoni.
If you recall, it will be Melo’s second time playing under D’Antoni. The two spent 27 games working together back in the 2010-2011 season with the New York Knicks after Anthony was dealt there in a mid-season trade from the Denver Nuggets.
Although Anthony averaged 26.3 points on 46.1 percent shooting (42.4 percent from three-point range) along with 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 36.2 minutes in those 27 contests, it wasn’t enough to save D’Antoni’s job.
Now reunited, it seems like the coach and 10-time All-Star will have to make some adjustments in order to be successful enough to return to the Western Conference Finals and ultimately challenge the Golden State Warriors.
"I understand some of the naysayers," D'Antoni said on Monday, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. "I understand the question marks going into it. I would be worried about it if there were no conversations. But those have been answered sufficiently. Now, we'll have to adjust. I'll have to adjust a few things to get the best out of Melo and he'll have to adjust his game to play with us the best he can. That's normal things it took Chris (Paul) and James (Harden) about an hour and half to get solved.”
D’Antoni can see Anthony playing both forward positions.
"He's a good shooter," D'Antoni said. "He can spot-up from 3, like Chris did with James. He can do that with those two, easily. He'll play a lot of four. He'll play some three. We have defensive guys like Eric Gordon. He's not going anywhere. He has a certain skillset that at times will be very valuable. When we don't need that skillset, he can catch and shoot and play hard, like anybody else.”
One of the major storylines surrounding the Rockets will be their starting five. Will Anthony start or will James Ennis, who was signed to essentially take over for Trevor Ariza, an elite perimeter defender.
To start or not to start
"Nothing's been decided," D'Antoni noted regarding the starting unit. "He, like everyone else on the team, like Eric Gordon, 'if that's what's best for the team, that's what I'll do.’ … We’ll see what performs best. What makes the best rotation and how to get the best out of them. Whether he starts or doesn't start, and he said it, is a moot point. We'll make that decision as we go forward. Maybe he starts the game, maybe he doesn’t."
Since Houston’s offense proved to be deadly with Chris Paul and James Harden on the court last season, perhaps Anthony would be most useful in a high-usage role off the bench alongside Eric Gordon, both of whom would likely be impactful against opposing second-units.
"We had to make sure that everybody's on the same page and he definitely, definitely is. We all have the same vision and want to get this thing done and beat probably the best team in NBA history. We can't afford a misstep or take things for granted and say 'we'll work things out.' When we talked about his vision and our vision and it matched up,” D’Antoni explained.
Although Anthony has made public statements claiming that he’s still a starting NBA player, it seems as though his decision to join the Rockets indicates that he’s willing to be a team player in the pursuit of his first championship.News Now - Sport News