Houston has a Carmelo Anthony problem on defense
Houston, we have a problem – on defense.
The Houston Rockets dropped to 1-4 on the young season following an embarrassing 133-113 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. The Rockets seem to have an issue defensively, and signs point to forward Carmelo Anthony being the culprit.
According to Tim McMahon of ESPN, Houston’s defensive rating with Anthony on the court is at 116.1. When he is off the court, it is at 105.3. This is nearly identical to their defensive rating last season, which was the 6th best in the league.
Mike D'Antoni can't say this, but it's a huge challenge to figure out what Rockets can do defensively with Melo. Can't keep switching and let him get hunted.
Rockets' DRtg with Melo on court: 116.1
Rockets' DRtg with Melo off court: 105.3
Rockets' DRtg last season: 105.6
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 27, 2018
According to Basketball Reference, Defensive Rating estimates the amount of points given up by a team per 100 possessions. With this, the lower the defensive rating, the better.
It’s easy to point the finger on Anthony for the Rockets’ early season defensive woes. The 10 time All-Star is the newcomer on this Rockets roster after getting traded out of the Oklahoma City Thunder and getting bought out by the Atlanta Hawks. Moreover, he had an abysmal season on defense last season with the Thunder and received plenty of criticism regarding his effort on that end of the floor.
Houston lost some vital defensive pieces from last season in Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. Anthony’s arrival did not seem to fill the void that they left. At this point in his career, Melo is huge liability on the defensive side of the ball. Opposing teams seem to be taking advantage and are exploiting his weaknesses on that side of the ball.
While the Rockets can just point to injuries as the reason to their early season struggles, it does not negate the fact that they have been horrible on defense to start the year. They have to address this issue quickly.