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Why Houston Now Has a Problem With Melo

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Most of us aren’t exactly the world’s largest Carmelo Anthony fans. Last season during his one and only year with the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t exactly help his cause either. Anthony posted a career-low in FG%, assists and steals. Now, I am willing to give Melo the benefit of the doubt for last seasons’ performance due to the “Russell Westbrook effect”, but you can’t blame Melo’s lack of defense on The Brodie. Melo seems almost uninterested when it comes to playing defense, and comes off very selfish when he is only looking to score. This can be backed up by the fact that Anthony could have been better suited off the bench, but he refuted the idea.

So should the Rockets really take a chance on the 34-year old forward? Will he really be that missing piece that gets the Rockets over that Warriors hump?

The Rockets need to realize that even by adding a washed Melo, he still won’t add enough scoring. You CANNOT outgun the Warriors– the Rockets should know this better than anyone. During the Western Conference Finals last season, the Rockets won all three of their games when they held the opposing Warriors under 106 points. Despite the Rockets nearly defeating the Warriors in that series, the Rockets were very lucky. Andre Iguodala was coming off an injury and the Rockets themselves had a damn near injury free season (until that heart breaking Chris Paul hamstring injury of course). Melo’s lack of defense and poor shooting will be a step backwards for the Rockets.

Chris Paul suffers an unfortunate hamstring injury during a crucial Game 5 in the Western Conference Finals (Photo courtesy of si.com)

While the Rockets unfortunately did lose Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to free agency, they should have looked elsewhere than Melo for a replacement. Kent Bazemore’s name has floated around NBA trade rumors. Bazemore averaged a career high last season from deep, shooting nearly 40% from downtown. Meanwhile, Melo shot over six three-pointers a game and hit just 35.7%. While Bazemore may be a more efficient scorer than Anthony, he also blows him away on the defensive end. When Bazemore steps onto the court he brings a much needed fire on defense and hustles play after play to help his team win. Bazemore was on a god awful Atlanta Hawks team last season; could you imagine how he would excel playing with the reigning MVP and one of the best point guards to ever play the game?

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe on his podcast, the Rockets were reportedly interested in the Henny God himself, J.R. Smith. Yes, the same J.R. Smith that forgot the score of an NBA finals game and has a Supreme tattoo on the back of his leg. While Smith has shown a drop off over this last season, he can still get hot at times and is not nearly as much of a liability on defense as Anthony. Smith shot 40% from the field last season and shot 38% behind the arc. Smith also had more steals and assists last year than Anthony. While J.R. Smith might not be what the Rockets were hoping for, it would be damn entertaining to see him throw up three’s alongside James Harden.

The Rockets unfortunately missed their chance to dethrone the Warriors from the Western Conference last year, and they will now have a much harder time this season with Melo in place of Ariza.

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