This NBA offseason has had no shortage of superstar shifts. LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan, and Isaiah Thomas will all be playing for new teams this upcoming season. And we can add one more superstar to that list. League sources have reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder will trade Carmelo Anthony, along with a 2022 first-round pick, to the Atlanta Hawks for Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala. The Hawks will then waive Anthony and then he will be able to join a team of his choice. Many expect Melo to join the Houston Rockets. If the speculation is true and Melo does join the Rockets, will Houston benefit from this move? Will Melo help them win the West? Let’s find out the answers to those questions.
Any team that gets a veteran like Carmelo Anthony will benefit from it. Melo can help the young players develop, and also be a guy that will bring experience and poise to the team. Not to mention, Melo did average 16 points per game this past season, so it’s not like he is not going to contribute on the court. Also, Melo will get to play with his good friend Chris Paul. The combined experience that both Melo and Chris Paul bring to the table will greatly help the Rockets.
Speaking of Chris Paul, Melo can also greatly benefit him. Chris Paul is a traditional pass-first point guard. However, this past season Chris Paul had to embrace more of a scoring role. Paul was the second highest average scorer on the team, second to only James Harden. In no way was Chris Paul ineffective, but he could have been more effective and more comfortable if he did not have to worry so much about scoring and could focus on being the traditional court general that he is used to being. Melo could give him the chance to do that. Melo is known for being a prolific scorer, averaging 24 points per game throughout his career. Harden and Melo could make for an outstanding scoring duo, and I’m sure that Chris Paul would have no problem getting them the ball. Now despite all these advantages of Melo coming to the Rockets, there could very well be some disadvantages.
Last year’s stint with Oklahoma City did not live up to the hype for Melo. He did not have a bad season with the Thunder, but it was pretty apparent that he did not gel well with the team. After all, Melo was teaming with two other dominant scorers in the forms of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. The Thunder just did not have the teamwork and chemistry that is needed to be successful in the NBA, and that caused them to lose in the first round of the playoffs. Now, Melo would be teaming up with another dominant scorer in Houston: reigning MVP James Harden. Harden, who just averaged 30 points per game this past season, is arguably the best scorer and the best offensive player in the league. The combination of Melo and Harden could either be amazing (as I stated above), or it could be terrible, with both players wanting to be the main scorer and the main guy. As seen in Oklahoma City, that scenario very well could happen and it could be problematic for Houston.
If Melo does as expected and becomes the Rocket, then this question arises: Is Melo the piece that the Rockets need to beat the Warriors and to win the West? The answer is no. The Warriors are just too talented, especially with their monster free agency pickup of DeMarcus Cousins. The Rockets could score a lot of points, but they will not be able to defend all of the all stars on the Warriors. In fact, the Rockets may not even be able to beat the Lakers. LeBron showed this past season that he can win games by himself this past season, and this season he may have more help if the young Lakers develop quickly. Defeating the Lakers could be a very difficult task for the Rockets this season, which makes defeating the Warriors an impossible task.
Carmelo Anthony is going to shake up the league even more by going to the Rockets. There is nothing uncertain about that. The only uncertainty is if Melo will help or hurt the Rockets in the big picture. It could go either way, and we really have no way of knowing. We’ll just have to wait until the season starts to find out.