The Houston Rockets are off to an ugly start in the 2018-19 NBA season, but Carmelo Anthony believes their issues appear only worse because of the huge expectations on the team.
Houston is considered as the only legitimate threat to the Golden State Warriors’ reign in the NBA. They reached the Western Conference Finals last season and took the defending champions to a do-or-die finale before bowing down in the absence of All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
The Rockets lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the offseason, but they retooled well and added Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis, Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight to their fold.
However, amid expectations that they’ll be fighting for the top spot in the West this season, the Rockets floundered and dropped to 1-4 in the standings. Since their win over the Los Angeles Lakers, they have lost three straight — twice against the LA Clippers and once against the Utah Jazz.
As the Rockets continue to slump, most fans blamed their poor defense. Their poor shooting is also suspect, while some point to injuries and missing key players.
Carmelo Anthony, however, told Jonathan Feigen of Houston Chronicle that their problems are exaggerated, no thanks to the lofty expectations on their shoulders.
“I think it’s over-amplified when it’s the team that has so much expectations,” Anthony said. “Regardless of it’s at the beginning of the season, regardless of it’s at the end of the season, a team that has this much expectation to not only get to the playoffs, but win a championship, of course this will always be magnified times 100.”
Anthony also asked for patience from their fans, saying that they are still learning how to effectively play together.
“This is a learning process for everybody,” said Anthony, who has gone from playing as a backup power forward to starting small forward. “This is an experiment for everybody. We’ve been at this for four, five weeks now. We’re still working things out. At the same time, work can carry us over the top. Our work and our energy our mindset, and then everything will fall into place.”
It remains to be seen if the Rockets can break out of their skid. It may still be too early in the season, but they certainly need to show signs of improvement if they want to raise belief that they can replicate and better their success in 2017-18.