The Houston Rockets lost forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency and are now reportedly “determined” to land Carmelo Anthony.
Landing Anthony might be a downgrade for the Rockets, as he can’t replace the defense Ariza and Mbah a Moute brought to the floor, and he has previously complained about a smaller role on offense.
By losing Ariza and Mbah a Moute and bringing in Anthony, the Rockets may lose the formula that made them such a threat to the Warriors.
The Houston Rockets have lost two keys pieces from the team that brought them within one half of knocking off the Golden State Warriors to make the NBA Finals and may now be compounding the problem.
Both Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute left in free agency to join, respectively, the Phoenix Suns on a 1-year, $15 million deal and the Los Angeles Clippers on a 1-year, $4.3 million deal.
Following the exit of Mbah a Moute on Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets will now focus on landing Carmelo Anthony, saying they’re “determined” to get him. Wojnarowski previously reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder and Anthony are expected to part ways this summer via a buyout or trade.
For the Rockets, it’s a series of moves that may be a step backward from last season. Part of what made the Rockets so deadly was their numbers-based attack centered on James Harden and Chris Paul pick-and-rolls. With the two playmakers at the head of the attack, they could drive the paint for their shots, hit the roll men, or pass it out to their bevy of three-point shooters. On the other end, those three-point shooters were rangy defenders who could switch across multiple positions to make life difficult on opponents.
Ariza finished third on the Rockets in three-pointers made. Meanwhile, Mbah a Moute shot a tidy 36%, good enough to keep him on the floor, mainly because his defense and rebounding was so vital to the Rockets’ attack. In a league where “3-and-D” players are increasingly important, the Rockets had three players (including P.J. Tucker, still on the roster) locking down the perimeter and spacing the floor.
On paper, adding a prolific scorer and former star like Anthony might seem like an upgrade, but he can’t replace what Ariza and Mbah a Moute brought to the Rockets. Replacing them with Anthony could end up being a downgrade.
Anthony struggled as a third star last year on the Thunder, and at the end of the season, made it known he didn’t enjoy being relegated to catch-and-shoot opportunities and fewer touches. It didn’t help matters that Anthony scored 16 points per game on just 40% shooting. At 34, Anthony has also lost a bit of his quick first step, and his ability to finish at the rim.
The Rockets last year also eschewed the area from which Anthony thrives on offense — the midrange. That area has historically been Anthony’s bread and butter, and while he can be a catch-and-shoot three-point …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Sports