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Carmelo Anthony is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets for the vet minimum once he clears waivers after being waived by the Atlanta Hawks, and even though Anthony and coach Mike D‘Antoni don’t have the best relationship, it appears the two are back on good terms and ready to reunite in The Magnolia City.
As everyone knows, teams coached by D’Antoni aren’t known for their stout defense and are usually associated with having prolific offenses that get up and down the floor and take a bevy of threes.
That description describes Anthony’s game in a nutshell, as the veteran scorer has always been a poor defender and prioritizes saving his energy for the offensive end.
The Rockets have been active in the trade market looking to add more wing defenders to the roster after losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency. As it stands, Houston really only has three good defenders on its roster — Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela — and adding Anthony won’t help the Rockets improve on the defensive end.
But seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry, who won two rings with the Rockets, says Houston is a team that doesn’t want to play defense, so the arrival of Anthony isn’t that big of a deal.
“You know, it’s crazy. I live in Houston and I watch the Rockets play a lot,” Horry told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson on Scoop B Radio. “I see the way they play and I don’t think they gave Ariza enough credit for what he did for that team. He played good defense on guys they didn’t want to play defense on like Kevin Durant and now you bring in Carmelo. Carmelo’s forte isn’t defense and him and D’Antoni don’t have the best rapport. So, it’s a lot of different things that come into play, but you also must realize that this is a team that doesn’t want to play defense, so it doesn’t really matter. They just want to run and gun.”
The Rockets averaged 112.4 points per game this past season, ranking second in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors. They also made the most 3-pointers in the league, hitting 1,256.
Houston was a top 10 defensive team in 2017-18 as well. They gave up 103.9 points per game, good for sixth place. But with the departures of Ariza and Mbah a Moute and the expectation Anthony will be added, it’s unlikely the Rockets can reproduce those defensive results.