Carmelo Anthony signed his one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Houston Rockets last week and Rockets assistant Irv Roland, who is also James Harden‘s trainer, says Anthony will fit in well in Houston.
Many around the league aren’t so sure Anthony will make the Rockets better. In his lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017-18, Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game and shot only 40.4 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Despite having a down year with the Thunder, Roland believes Anthony still has a lot left in the tank and will surprise people in 2018-19.
“I think what Carmelo brings us is a guy who can go get us a bucket,” Roland told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on Scoop B Radio. “The trend in the league now is to do a lot of switching defensively and you need guys who when the play breaks down, they can go get you a bucket and take the pressure and stress off of CP [Chris Paul] and James. Melo is one of the most special scorers that this league has seen and I think with the way that we play, he’ll be able to operate easier than he has probably on any other team that he’s been on.”
Anthony, Paul and Harden had a training session together before Anthony left for Africa and the trio “played unbelievable together,” according to Anthony’s trainer, Chris Brickley. Paul advocated the Rockets to sign Anthony for the past month and is excited to finally play with his pal.
Paul wanted the Los Angeles Clippers to trade for Anthony when he was still in Los Angeles, but Doc Rivers never pulled the trigger. Paul’s bond with Rivers began to deteriorate after Rivers decided not to trade for Anthony in a deal that would have included Rivers’ son, Austin Rivers.
“A lot of things,” Paul said on what excites him the most to play with Anthony. “Melo, like a lot of the guys on the team, always plays like he has something to prove. And obviously the friendship, brotherhood that we share. It’s always nice to play with someone you’re close with.”
The Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the 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.
In the Game 7 loss, the Rockets missed 27 straight 3-pointers, another reason why Roland is confident Anthony will boost Houston’s offense.
“I think that people will see he’s still got a lot left in the tank,” Roland told Robinson. “People talk about him and coach [Mike] D’Antoni’s time in New York, but people aren’t realistic. Like they look at what happened there, but don’t mention the personnel that they had. They didn’t have a team that was elite. Don’t get me wrong, they had a couple pieces that were solid, but they didn’t have a team that was ready to compete and make serious noise. This team has already proven they can compete for a championship and now you’re adding one of the best scorers this game has ever seen.”