Let me preface this by saying that Carmelo Anthony is likely a future hall of famer and is one of the best offensive players in the NBA over the past 15 years.
With that being said, he has been declining for a few years now and would be an absolutely terrible fit for the Houston Rockets.
On paper, the idea of teaming up a player like Carmelo Anthony with two superstars like James Harden and Chris Paul sounds appealing, just as it did when the Thunder acquired him to team up with Russell Westbrook and Paul George last season, but when you consider Melo’s playing style and limitations, he would be more of a detractor than savior for a Rockets team trying to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.
The Rockets system is built around their two main ball handlers and stars in James Harden and Chris Paul staggering minutes and alternating running the offense while playing together and using their elite play making skills and vision to get open shots for catch-and-shoot guys or dunks and layups for Clint Capela. The ball moves quickly when not in Harden or Paul’s hand and their secondary players are able to be effective playing off of their stars.
Carmelo Anthony has always been a serial ball stopper and not suited to be a supporting piece or the main portion of a Mike D’Antoni offense, which is why it didn’t work with D’Antoni and Melo in New York.
The Rockets were built on long and gritty defenders who could switch, defend multiple positions and generally do the dirty work while knocking down open shots and they lost two of the major two-way assets in Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute this summer to the Suns and Clippers respectively.
The reason they pushed the Warriors to the limit is because they were able to slow the game down (I know odd for a D’Antoni team) and utilize their group of top-notch defenders in order to frustrate the Warriors stars.
Carmelo Anthony has always been a below average defender with little to no interest on that end and he has only worsened with age, he was a -1.9 plus/minus last season.
Add in the fact that his offensive game doesn’t mesh with the Rockets style and that he was the least efficient he has been his entire career last season, shooting 40.4% from the field, and you have a guy that would only detract from what made the Rockets so elite last season.
Losing Ariza and Mbah A Moute are big blows for Houston, but signing Carmelo would only create new issues as well.