Carmelo Anthony

USA Today

2018-19 Houston Rockets

We’re ten games into the Houston Rockets season and it’s time to have a conversation.

November 09, 2018 - 10:57 am
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We’re ten games into the Houston Rockets season and it’s time to have a conversation. 

Topic 1 – the Rockets are not off to the start that anyone expected. They are 4-6. They just lost to a Russell Westbrook-less Thunder team by 18. Their defense has been a mess. Their offense isn’t much better. And Chris Paul looks like he got awfully old awfully fast.

How bad is their offense right now? They were held to 80 points last night and Mike D’Antoni had two words to describe it: “yuck” and “anemic.” Forget for a minute that a grown man just uttered the word yuck. Ever think you’d see the day a Mike D offense would be referred to as anemic?  I mean, sure, you words like m

When did you ever think that a Mike D offense would be referred to as “yuck” or “anemic”? Sure you might call his defense matador or porous, but you never expect guy to have an office that is anemic.

That is shocking and something nobody saw coming. 

Topic 2 – Carmelo Anthony is off to the start that absolutely everyone expected. Some decent nights and some awful nights. And that continued last night in Oklahoma City. 

Let me preface this by saying that taking a run at Carmelo Anthony these days is like taking a run at Nathan Peterman. And that’s compliment to Nate Pete and just a plain fact about Melo. Because at 34 going on 54, the future Hall of Famer, and one of the best to ever do it, is playing like a future unemployed Bills quarterback. 

So I’ve been holding off on saying anything, just because it’s too easy. It would be too easy to crack back on him for saying that he’d be open to coming off the bench when everyone knows that’s not really something he wants. And too easy to point out that he’s a colossal defensive liability and that what’s left of his offense won’t make up for it. 

But now we’re at the point where it’s too hard to ignore. Especially when he made his return to OKC.

Everyone likes to make a big deal about “revenge games.” You know, the game where a guy goes back to the team that he used to play for and absolutely wrecks them. And last night was one of those games for Melo. Going back to OKC. That had to be really emotional….I mean, so many memories. Just barely more memories in OKC than from his brief stint with the Hawks. 

I’m guessing it was a pretty emotional night for Melo and that must’ve played a role in his performance, because it wasn’t great. Not great at all. In fact, legendarily bad.

1 for 11 for two points. Including 0 for 6 from three. In 20 minutes. Not exactly the Vinny “The Microwave” Johnson level impact coming off the bench. My guy isn’t a hibachi, he’s a freezer. 

A night where you have one made basket on 11 shots is a rough one. A night where that one made basket isn’t even a made basket, but came on a goaltending is a brutal one. 

On his one hoop, the ball didn’t actually go through the hoop. That’s amazing. You can put that two point game right up there with Wilt’s 100 point game, because it will never again be matched.

But he did have five assists. That’s good. The night isn’t going the way you’d for yourself, but you’re setting up everyone else. Oh, wait, sorry, those five assists are a season total. 10 games, five assists. A sweet half an assist per game.  

That’s not going to help the ball hog rep at all. And sure, the haters will point out that Melo has more missed shots than he has made shots. Right, who doesn’t? Sorry, the haters will actually point out that he has more missed shots than he has made shots, assists, and blocks combined. 

In other words, his biggest stat contributions are missing shots at one end and giving up buckets at the other. That’s not good.  

As for last night, Melo had an explanation: "I missed those looks, some open joints, some open shots I missed. As a team, we didn't shoot the ball well tonight. Extremely poor. I think that kind of got to us a little bit. Our energy, our spirit was a little down because of that."

Agreed. The spirit was a little down. So were Melo’s shooting numbers. Again, we’re only ten games into the season and it’s not unusual to see veterans start slowly. Melo knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But there have been few sightings of that rare, majestic beast known as Olympic Melo. 

And almost no sign of Defensive Melo. I’m not sure that ever existed, but if it did, it sure hasn’t shown up in Houston. Carmelo Anthony will never be confused with Dennis Rodman as a lock-down defender, but in OKC, they could hide him with multiple elite defenders on the court. 

Not so with the Rockets, where they switch everything and every opponent just goes right at Melo. He’s the perfect combination of too slow for quick guys and too small for big guys. Which means he’s a giant target on the court. But at least he’s making up for it on the offensive end every night. No, he’s not. He was a goal tending away from an 0 for 11 shutout.  

I’m not going to say Melo to Houston is a total disaster. It’s a long season, they’ve been busted up and suspended, but they’re 4-6 and in that conference, when you’re already looking up at the Pelicans, Lakers, Jazz and Kings, it gets late early. And when Melo is going 1 for 11 and only scoring on a goaltending, it gets really late, really early.