It’s only been a week and the team hasn’t played a preseason game yet, but Carmelo Anthony says he’s fitting in well with the Houston Rockets. Anthony has been playing at the power forward spot with the Rockets’ second unit in training camp thus far, a clear sign head coach Mike D’Antoni views the former All-NBA player as a good fit to come off the bench.
Many around the league aren’t so sure Anthony will make the Rockets better, but the 10-time All-Star doesn’t care what the pundits say. He believes this year is going to be different than what transpired in OKC because he chose to be in Houston and the organization wanted him. Anthony, of course, was traded to the Thunder from the New York Knicks and was never able to adjust to his role playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
“I don’t really care about somebody telling me how I think,” Anthony said, via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “A lot of people talking about me don’t know how I am, never talked to me before, don’t know how I think. It’s funny to me to hear a quote from somebody saying he feels like this, he feels like that, he should do this, he should do that, he said this, he said that. I haven’t talked to anybody since the exit meeting last year. It’s funny to watch it, listen.
“I chose to be here. Also, the organization wanted me here. It’s a win-win for all parties. Whatever way you spin it, it’s a positive. It’s a thinking man’s game. There’s not so many sets, not so many half court, run this play and run that play. You get to your spot, and you play out of that. That gives our game fluidity, and guys move around. It’s not predictable. That makes it a little bit easier.
“Even the first two or three days, I’ve been feeling comfortable with getting up and down and getting to my spot and being able to play out of my spot. A lot of times I’m like, ‘I’m still here, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it in this spot, I can do it in that spot.’ It’s going to come in different packages. It’s not going to be the iso game. It’s not going to just be 3s. It’s a comfort zone we all have to have.”
Anthony is coming off the worst statistical season of his career. In his lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017-18, Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game and shot only 40.4 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. The 2018 playoffs were an even bigger struggle for Anthony. In the six-game series loss to the Utah Jazz in the first-round, Anthony averaged 11.8 points per game while shooting a woeful 37.5 percent from the floor and 21.4 percent from long distance. The Thunder had an offensive rating of 98.6 when Anthony was on the court, compared to 116.8 when he was on the bench in the postseason.
Carmelo Anthony’s close pal and Rockets starting point guard Chris Paul advocated Houston to sign Anthony. This could be Anthony’s last chance in the NBA to be a valuable piece on a contending team, so he needs to take advantage of this opportunity and flourish in his role.