Many have questioned the Houston Rockets’ decision to sign Carmelo Anthony this offseason, but one of Anthony’s former teammates believes the veteran scorer is in a great position to silence his critics.
Amar’e Stoudemire, who played with Anthony with the New York Knicks, says Anthony has a tremendous opportunity to change the negative narrative which has surrounded him the past couple of seasons.
“He has a chance to change the paradigm of what the critics are thinking and saying,” Stoudemire told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on Scoop B Radio. “He’s in a position where he can definitely play his game.”
Anthony’s lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder was a disappointment. The 34-year-old averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game during the regular season 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, Anthony averaged 11.8 points while shooting a woeful 37.5 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from three. 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.
Anthony, who signed a one-year, $2.4 million free agent deal with Houston, is reuniting with head coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni coached Anthony in New York, but the two men had a murky relationship back then. D’Antoni resigned from his post during the 2011-12 season because he was unable to get Anthony to buy into his style.
D’Antoni and Anthony, however, have since patched things up and the Rockets’ coach believes Anthony is a good addition to the team.
“I understand some of the naysayers,” D’Antoni told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I understand the question marks going into it. I would be worried about it if there were no conversations. But those have been answered sufficiently. Now, we’ll have to adjust. I’ll have to adjust a few things to get the best out of Melo and he’ll have to adjust his game to play with us the best he can. That’s normal things it took Chris (Paul) and James (Harden) about an hour and half to get solved.
“He’s a good shooter. He can spot-up from 3, like Chris did with James. He can do that with those two, easily. He’ll play a lot of four. He’ll play some three. We have defensive guys like Eric Gordon. He’s not going anywhere. He has a certain skill-set that at times will be very valuable. When we don’t need that skill-set, he can catch and shoot and play hard, like anybody else. He’s an enormous talent and I think we can make this work.”
Anthony’s close pal, Paul, advocated the Rockets to sign Anthony. Paul, Anthony and Harden have been training together all summer and the trio has looked “unbelievable together,” according to Anthony’s trainer, Chris Brickley.
The Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the 2018 Western Conference Finals. Houston took a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6, but Paul missed Games 6 and 7 with a hamstring injury and the Rockets weren’t able to close out the series without its floor general.
In the Game 7 loss, the Rockets missed 27 straight 3-pointers. The hope in Houston is that Anthony’s scoring prowess will help the Rockets get past the Warriors this season.