If Carmelo Anthony joins the Rockets, the rest of the league needs to watch out.
Think about this: Chris Paul brings the ball up against a team’s second best defender, then passes to James Harden on the wing. The third-best defender has to guard Harden because the best defensive player is assigned to Carmelo. Scary, right? This is just one scenario and one permutation of how guarding the Rockets with Melo would be an almost impossible task.
Carmelo is a freak of a scoring machine. He’s 6’8”, lightning quick, and he has a number of ways to put the ball in the hoop. He haunts the dreams of any defender assigned to guarding him like a basketball Freddy Krueger.
This is while he’s on the Knicks, who despite a wealth of talent, have no semblance of coaching to guide them. Melo fits the new Houston concept like a glove. Obviously, the only defense on the team would come from Chris Paul, but the Rockets would score at will.
There is so much talk about the fact that three ball-dominant players would not fit well on a team. The truth of the matter is that they would create nightmare matchup issues. Chris Paul is a slick offensive player who can pass better than most point guards in the league. That plays to Melo’s strengths. When Melo is allowed to catch and shoot, he might be the best scorer in the universe. Take a look at his performances on Team USA. He has been able to defer the ball-handling responsibilities to guards and forwards alike. That leaves him open on the wing where he takes more shots than a sorority sister. It’s one of the reasons he tends to lead the team in scoring.
How would the new Rockets match up with the Warriors, Spurs, and Cavs? We saw a complete meltdown in the playoffs when Harden seemed to run out of steam and had a night of hoops that he would like to forget. Chris Paul and Melo would definitely take the scoring burden off The Beard, and it seems like this series would go the full seven games. The Cavs are shoddy on defense, and LeBron would have to guard Anthony.
This increased exertion of energy would exhaust The King and devalue him on the offensive end. The Warriors are the best team to match up with this hypothetical Houston team. Steph has owned CP3 in the last few years, and Harden-Klay could be the most volatile, deciding matchup. Melo vs. Durant would be amazing to see, but the younger Durant is easily better than the elder statesman from New York. Unfortunately, Golden State is too well coached to lose to even this idea of a Rockets team.
Thankfully, for most of the teams in the league, these negotiations have been halted for the time being. Defensive players’ ankles everywhere are thanking the Knicks for that. Unless you’re a Houston fan, you should pray to the basketball Gods that this move never happens.