Despite being one of the best scorers in the NBA Carmelo Anthony has dropped off the radar these past couple of seasons. When he failed to carry the Knicks to a title we all felt that that had dented his legacy and stopped him being regarded as one of the greats of all time.
After his best season in 2012-13 where he won the scoring title and lead the Knicks to the 2nd seed in the East, he slowly went downhill and the Knicks became a joke once more. He was traded to OKC and was expected to help them at least get to the Conference Finals with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, but they lost in the first round against the defensive Utah Jazz.
Now Melo is on the Houston Rockets with James Harden and Chris Paul, 2 of the best playmaking guards in the league. This will likely be his last team before he retires, so it’s now or nothing for Melo and here’s how he can seize the opportunity that’s in front of him.
3. Accept His Role
Melo is probably the 3rd best player on the Rockets now and he needs to accept this. He has usually been the go to guy on whatever team he’s been playing for but now times have changed.
The ball will mainly be in the Hands of Harden and Paul, and Melo should use this to his advantage. Melo is still a top 10 scorer in the league and now should have much less focus on him than before. This gives him more freedom to show off his lethal jump shot and excellent driving ability.
2. Embrace The D’Antoni System
Melo is now playing with Mike D’Antoni again and now has the chance to add to the already devastating Rockets attack. This is a very uptempo style with a lot of pick and rolls, 3-point shooting and drives to the rim.
Melo in the past has been known as a ball stopper; someone who scores a lot in isolation and in the post. This is very different to what the Rockets currently play so he will need to adapt. It’s likely that he will have a lot of wide open 3s to take and make and he should capitalize on that to the fullest. He needs to get used to being a spot-up shooter with the ball out of his hands. This can work well for him though as his motion is so fast and deadly AND it means that late in tight games he can go to work down low like he has done before meaning the Rockets have more options when they need a basket the most.
1. Play Some Defense
As good as he is offensively Melo has been less than sensational defensively. He has the ability to be a good stopper; he’s quick, strong and has been a good defender in bursts in the past. He won’t need to spend his energy on offense so can concentrate on the other end of the floor as well.
Doing this will dramatically increase his output on the floor because we all know what he can do on offense. Prioritising defense will take teams by surprise as they are used to being able to go at him at that end of the floor.
We all want Melo to win a ring, he at least deserves the chance to showcase his skills in the Finals and if he gets there then lookout as a driven Melo in the Finals would go HAM against the opponent.