One of my favorite songs is “Times Up” by the hip-hop artist O.C., and it appears that Carmelo Anthony’s time in Houston is up. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe are reporting that the 6-time All NBA performer, and 10-time all-star’s time with the Rockets by all indications are over. Many of his teammates appear to think that Melo will not rejoin the team. Anthony has only played 10 games and started in only 2 of them.
Rumors started to swirl around Anthony and the Rockets after he missed Saturday’s game against the Spurs. He missed the game due to an illness, but multiple reports were speculating that Carmelo would meet with the Rockets in regards to his role with the team. Sparking the rumor that Melo might be leaving the Rockets.
This meeting is supposed to take place before he returns to the team. As the rumors started to get stronger and the sharks started to smell blood in the water general manager Daryl Morey met with the media. Morey stated that Anthony was indeed sick and dismissed the rumors that Anthony would be leaving the team.
During the interview, he was quoted as saying he expected Carmelo back in the lineup once he was healthy. This Rockets season has been a roller coaster from the start. The team has not played well and Anthony has been at the center of their early struggles.
The situation with Anthony got off to a rocky start when Carmelo showed an unwillingness to come off the bench, and take on a more of a supportive role. Melo would eventually agree to come off the bench, but that did not solve the problem.
Bottom line Carmelo Anthony is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He has the stats and the accolades that will support his case. With that being said his skills as a volume scorer has eroded. He was never a good defender, but his bad defense was offset by his offensive brilliance.
Starting in the 2014-2015 season Melos numbers started to go down across the board. According to Basketball-Reference, he played in only 40 games before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. While the scoring numbers were still there, they felt more like empty stats. The Knicks struggled and Anthony was traded to Oklahoma City.
He struggled mightily during his stint with the Thunder. It had become apparent that Melo had lost his fastball, and was regulated to a role as a catch and shoot player. His defense was lackluster, and detrimental to the team especially when the team lost its best defender Andre Roberson.
Carmelo’s role during playoff series diminished as well. He saw his minutes cut down and he would eventually find himself out of the rotation by the end of the series. The Jazz would go on to win that series and Anthony’s time in OKC was now up.
He would be bought out and would be traded to Atlanta before signing with Houston. The same issues that plagued Anthony in OKC followed him to Houston.
Carmelo has played well offensively in spurts, but his defense has gotten even worse. He has struggled to adjust to the Rockets switching style of defense that help the Rockets finish in the top five last year in defense.
At one point he even hinted that they stop switching so much on defense to better accommodate him. One will look back at this moment as the start of the end for Melo in Houston.Make no mistake about it Melo will go down in history as one of the best scorers to ever play the game. His offensive toolbox has all the tools. He could post up, face you up with a nasty jab step, his mid-range game is one of the best we’ve ever seen, and he could get to the basket with a nice handle.
What often happens players such as Melo never adjust their game. Anthony still feels like he’s a first option player when he is actually a third maybe even a fourth option player. He has now shown in back-to-back seasons that he is unwilling to change and adjust his game.
We have seen other great players take on a supportive role and change their games so they can remain in the league. Hall of Famer Jason Kidd is a great example of someone who evolved his game and was able to have a 20-year career.
At his apex, Kidd was the most athletic guard the NBA has ever seen. He was a walking triple-double with speed and playmaking ability the league had never seen. He couldn't shoot, but by the end of his career he evolved. Finishing 3rd all-time for most made 3 pointers.
Vince Carter is another example and is currently in his 21st season with the Atlanta Hawks. The future Hall of Famer went from highflying elite scorer to now a pick n pop wing. He adjusted his game and now is currently starting for the Hawks. His career has seen great longevity because he was willing to sacrifice.
So my question to Melo is what now? You are now possible on your way out of Houston your second team in two years. It is painfully obvious your career is at a crossroads. My suggestion is to change your game and mindset. Become a player that is willing to take on a supportive role, or find yourself out of the league.
Which would be a travesty, Melo still has something in the tank. He could be a nice piece to a championship contending team. Now we will have to sit back and see if this will be the final chapter of a brilliant Hall of Fame career.