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Can Melo Stay Melo In Reunion With D’Antoni?

Mike D’Antoni by Shaun Mecum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Can Melo Stay Melo In Reunion With D’Antoni?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Let me preface this article by saying I’m writing this sick as a dog (what does this saying mean?). I’ve watched approximately 7 hours of The Great British Bake Off. If it doesn’t make sense, I’m very sorry. Forgive me. Someone bring me a Genoese sponge.

Reunited And It Feels So…Good? Maybe?

After being an Atlanta Hawk for five days and then getting waived, Carmelo Anthony signed a one-year $2.4 million contract with the Houston Rockets. Of course, he’s also been paid his $25.4 million contract from Atlanta.

In case you forgot, Mike D’Antoni has coached Anthony before when he was on the Knicks. In fact, it was an ultimatum set by Anthony that caused D’Antoni to resign from the team. At that time, there was a ton of pressure on both Anthony and D’Antoni to win a championship. Simply put, their differences got the best of them. D’Antoni favored an offense like the one he has now but with more pick-and-rolls, and Anthony wanted an isolation-focused offense around him.

Since D’Antoni’s resignation from the Knicks, he’s worked with Anthony during the 2012 Olympics as the assistant coach of Team USA. I truly believe that their past experience with one another will inform this next move, but not dictate it. 

Overcoming Differences

These are two professional men, fully capable of moving onward and upward from their pasts. The current circumstances are very different from where these two were 6 years ago. D’Antoni coached a fantastic team last year – the team with the most wins of the season, the team that posed the greatest threat to the Golden State Warriors. Melo, on the other hand, played his worst season of basketball last season with OKC. My hopes for the Thunder’s “Big 3” quickly deflated after realizing they weren’t going to be “a thing”. Anthony wasn’t shooting well and was inconsistent defensively, as usual.

Bench Player Or Starter?

Last season, Carmelo Anthony laughed at the idea of coming off the bench for OKC. I (and I’m sure, Oklahoma City fans) wondered why Donovan refused to bring Anthony off the bench after realizing that he wasn’t fitting with Westbrook and George. Perhaps it was the pressure of the idea of the new “big 3”, perhaps it was pressure from Anthony himself. 

I have a feeling Anthony will be singing a different tune this season in Houston. As I mentioned earlier, Anthony simply did not fit in well with two other superstars in Oklahoma City. He was used to being the greatest offensive option in New York. Things completely changed in OKC with Westbrook and George. He got fewer touches and was forced to play off the ball, and he did so poorly.

Coming into Houston, he is joining a team with two superstars who have already established a strong game together in a system that works. The Rockets have established themselves as an extremely talented and capable team. I think Anthony will be far more open to coming off the bench in this situation. D’Antoni already limits Chris Paul’s and James Harden’s minutes together, so I think Anthony will be more willing to come off the bench for an added offensive boost.

How Will He Fit In?

I’m really curious to see how Anthony fits into the Rockets’ system. D’Antoni’s fast-paced game relies on an isolation-heavy offense led by Harden and Paul, two of the best in the game. Anthony simply isn’t as good as he was in New York, and Harden and Paul play a far better isolation game than he does. The Rockets lost out massively in losing Ariza and Mbah a Moute – two players who contributed great defense and the ability to shoot from the outside. Getting Anthony in place of those two isn’t a great trade-off, in my opinion, but I’d love to be proven wrong. 

If Anthony can find his place in Houston as a role player instead of the go-to offensive weapon, I think things can work out – at least a lot better than they did in Oklahoma City.

Jamie is an actress, bar manager (and frequenter), beauty blogger, INFP, and of course, NBA fanatic living in Los Angeles. She spends most of her free time curating her Spotify playlists, eating Korean BBQ with her boyfriend, and deciding what color lipstick to wear.

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