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Houston Rockets center Nene, who played with Carmelo Anthony with the Denver Nuggets, believes Anthony is still a top-10 player in the NBA.
Anthony, who signed a one-year, $2.4 million deal with Houston, is receiving a lot of support from his new Rocket teammates.
Nene, however, may have gone overboard by claiming Anthony is still an elite player.
“He can be whatever he wants to be,” Nene told Marc Berman of Fox 26. “He’s talented. It doesn’t matter how old he is. When he commits to do the right thing and they [Houston] use his talent, man get out of the way. Simple as that. For me, he’s a top-10 player in the league, still.”
Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game in his lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The veteran scorer shot 40.4 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three.
The playoffs were an even bigger struggle for Anthony. In the six-game series loss to the Utah Jazz, Anthony averaged 11.8 points while shooting a woeful 37.5 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Thunder had an offensive rating of 98.6 when Anthony was on the court compared to 116.8 when he was on the bench.
Rockets coach Mike D‘Antoni said Anthony will compete for a starting spot in training camp. Anthony could ultimately come off the bench for Houston, based on whatever D’Antoni decides makes most sense for the Rockets.
Anthony has started in all 1,054 games he’s played in the NBA.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. The Rockets lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency. Houston’s starting lineup will definitely feature Chris Paul, James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela. That fifth and final spot could be Anthony’s, but we’ll have to wait and see what D’Antoni decides to do.