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Report: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni ‘strongly leaning’ toward Carmelo Anthony as 6th man, Eric Gordon as starter

Mike D'Antoni, Carmelo Anthony, Rockets

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni seems to be “strongly leaning” toward bringing his offseason acquisition Carmelo Anthony off the bench as the team’s sixth man, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

While his lineup isn’t set in stone by any means, D’Antoni wants sharpshooter Eric Gordon as a starter, a move that could move James Harden to the small forward position.

Houston outscored opponents by 71 points in 148 minutes when Gordon joined Harden and Chris Paul on the court in 2017-18, putting up 134.7 points per 100 possessions — their best efficiency all season long.

D’Antoni is also thinking of pairing Anthony with defensive stalwart James Ennis as much as possible, helping make Anthony’s defensive deficiencies a lot less glaring.

Melo previously said during his introductory press conference that he would be willing to take on whatever role the team had in store for him and re-affirmed those same thoughts during Monday’s Media Day.

D’Antoni said Anthony would get the chance to battle for the starting spot like everyone else, but it seems that two days into training camp, the coach is more willing to play his best player out of his natural position in order to get the maximum offensive output possible.

Anthony would take Gordon’s spot as the sixth man, bringing in the scoring punch and able to play at small forward or power forward in smaller rotations. P.J. Tucker would come in as the starter at the four-spot while Clint Capela mans the center spot after agreeing to a multi-year extension earlier this summer.

The theory is there on paper, but if it is indeed what D’Antoni has in mind, we’ll see it soon during the preseason as he fine-tunes his roster heading into the regular season.