The Houston Rockets signed forward Carmelo Anthony this off-season after he was waived by the Atlanta Hawks. Many people don’t think he will fit in well with the Rockets. Will he help or hurt the Rockets next year?
In an interview with The Players’ Tribune, guard James Harden said Anthony will fit in perfectly.
“When you got two high IQ guys who are unselfish and know the game of basketball it’s easy,” said Harden. “This year, coming off an MVP season, now you got to add Carmelo Anthony, it’s going to be easy. The transition is easy. When you got that many talented, high IQ guys around who love to communicate and love to figure things out the job is easy.”
My biggest issue with Harden’s statement is him saying Anthony has a high IQ. That may be true but Anthony does not play like it. He takes poor shots which hurt his team’s momentum and help the other team stay in games. Another thing that is hard to believe is that Anthony loves to communicate. That has hardly been true for Anthony.
Harden is being optimistic but will Anthony fit in with the Rockets. They already have two ball-dominant players in Harden and Chris Paul. Adding Anthony will mean even more isolation plays. I think the Rockets can’t afford any more isolation plays. It will slow down their offense even more and other players will get annoyed by the lack of participation in the offense.
Besides the increase in isolation plays the tram will see, they will also have a more lackluster defense. Anthony does not play great defense. That is unfortunate for the the Rockets and even more so when you realize that he will be replacing Trevor Ariza, a great defensive player. This is a recipe for disaster because it is difficult to win a game in the NBA with little or no defense.
With the addition of Anthony, the Rockets will have two really bad defensive players in the starting lineup. Harden is infamous for his lack of defense and now with Anthony on the roster, teams can exploit yet another player. In the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry was going after Ryan Anderson in the third quarter and it was hilarious because Anthony would always get open and knock down an open three.
It looks like the Rockets will be seeing a lot more of that. Even if adding Anthony makes the Rockets a better offensive team (which I doubt it will), they won’t beat the Warriors. What kept the Rockets in the series was their defense and that is mostly gone. Golden State will have a much easier time scoring if these teams meet again in the playoffs.
Luckily, the Rockets have a whole season to figure it out. They will realize that having both Harden and Anthony on the floor at the same time isn’t the best idea. Anthony might have to come off the bench. He hasn’t been thrilled about that scenario but if he wants to win an NBA Championship, he will have to make that sacrifice.