One Houston Rockets assistant is all-in on the Carmelo Anthony signing.
According to Irv Roland, who is an assistant with the Rockets and James Harden’s personal trainer, Anthony’s fit with the Rockets is a good one because he’s one of the best scorers this game has ever seen, via Ashish Mathur of Amico Hoops:
“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.”
Roland also makes sure to defend the 10-time All-Star from criticism due to his tenure with Mike D’Antoni while both were with the New York Knicks. For those that have forgotten, D’Antoni clashed with Anthony before resigning as head coach prior to the end of the 2011-12 season. He was 42-40 during the 2010-11 season while leading the Knicks to a first-round exit before going 18-24 during the 2011-12 season.
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“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.”
What Roland is saying does make sense, as defenses do collapse on James Harden and Chris Paul. Having a third scorer should alleviate that pressure and only help matters, right? The problem is, while Anthony is one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen, he is 34 years old and on a steep decline. Furthermore, ever since his days at Syracuse, Anthony has been the go-to scorer on his teams. The lone season where that was not the case was last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where Anthony played a clear third option role, and he was absolutely disastrous in it.
The problem with Anthony is that he is no longer the player he once was and he is not suited to be a secondary option on a team. He doesn’t know how to contribute in any way other than being an isolation scorer, which is a terrible fit on a team with two main offensive options in a pace-and-space era such as today’s NBA.
We’ll see if I’m wrong with this assessment, but there’s a reason why the Thunder were so quick to part ways with an established All-Star forward.