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Rumor: Rockets didn’t anticipate just how bad Carmelo Anthony would be defensively

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Despite having quite a decorated career under his belt, 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony still remains without a team at this point in the offseason. There is no doubt that during his prime, the former NBA scoring champ was one of the most potent scorers in the entire league. Now at 35, he is a shadow of his former self, but surely, he still has more than a few ways to put the ball in the basket.

This isn’t the problem, though. As it turns out, it’s Anthony’s defense — or lack thereof — that has kept him on the outside looking in. As reported by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, this was actually the main reason why Melo’s time with the Houston Rockets was so short-lived. For their part, the Rockets had no idea how mightily Anthony would struggle on the defensive end.

Although the Rockets knew of Anthony’s defensive weaknesses before he joined, team sources say they didn’t anticipate just how limited he would be in their aggressive switch-centric defense, which tasked him with running quicker players off the 3-point line. One team source speculates that, had they known he’d struggle so much in their defense, Anthony wouldn’t have been brought aboard. “He really, really struggled with it,” the source says.

Anthony played in only 10 games for the Rockets last season before the team decided to pull the plug. We haven’t seen him take the court since, and given how it is unlikely that his defense has improved significantly since then, it would not be a surprise if teams continue to pass on the prospect of signing the once-great Carmelo Anthony.