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Once he returns from Africa, Carmelo Anthony will sign a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Houston Rockets, and Anthony’s trainer, Chris Brickley, says the emphasis in his workouts with Anthony is to get the veteran scorer in the best shape of his life.
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. As everyone knows, teams coached by Mike 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.
Brickley says he’s added more running and 3-point drills to Anthony’s basketball regimen this summer so that Anthony will be ready to play in D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense.
“Right now, the emphasis is getting him in the best shape of his life,” Brickley told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on Scoop B Radio. “Especially with the situation that he’s going to be in. We’re just trying to get him in situations where he can pick and pop and run the lane. I never want him to get tired.”
Once Anthony joins the Rockets, he’ll enter the starting lineup. Houston lost its starting small forward from last season, Trevor Ariza, to the Phoenix Suns in free agency.
Anthony’s lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder was a disappointment. The 34-year-old averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game during the regular season and shot only 40.4 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.
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.
Brickley says Anthony was in a great place mentally before leaving for Africa despite having a down year with the Thunder.
“He’s super positive right now,” Brickley said. “He has great energy. We’ve changed the workouts a little bit compared to what they used to be. But you know he’s still Melo, still one of the greatest scorers of all-time. Before we were just focused on mid-post stuff and we’re still doing that. But now we’ve added a lot more running and threes and shooting threes while he’s tired, as many threes as possible.”
Brickley also stated that Anthony, Chris Paul and James Harden had a training session together and “played unbelievable together.”