Since signing with the Houston Rockets, there is an ongoing debate around the league whether Carmelo Anthony will be joining Chris Paul and James Harden in the starting lineup or come off the bench for the first time in his NBA career. Anthony failed to make himself fit serving as the Thunder’s third scoring option last season, and the result is expected to be the same when he starts playing alongside two ball-dominant players in Houston.
Less than a month before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Rockets are yet to make an official decision regarding the role of Carmelo Anthony. At media day, Anthony revealed that no one has talked to him if he will start or not next season, but according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the 10-time NBA All-Star didn’t shoot down the possibility of becoming the Rockets’ sixth man.
“If that time comes, we’ll have that conversation. My goal is to go into training camp, be the best player I can be, be in the best shape I can be and do what I have to do to help this team get over the hump and win a championship. That’s all it is. All the questions of coming off the bench, I don’t want to answer those questions at the end of the day. Whatever I have to do to help this team win a championship, that’s what’s going to be done.”
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) September 25, 2018
Anthony’s statement doesn’t necessarily mean that he is already giving up the starting role. The 34-year-old superstar will be heading into training camp with the goal of showing the Rockets the best version of himself. However, Anthony is willing to make a huge sacrifice as long as it can give them a higher chance of winning an NBA championship title.
Most people believe that the Rockets signed Carmelo Anthony to fill the hole left by Trevor Ariza in their wing. However, it is highly likely that the starting small forward position will go to James Ennis as Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni reportedly sees Anthony primarily as a power forward. Last season, the Rockets used P.J. Tucker as their starting power forward.
With Tucker in the starting lineup, the Rockets posted a 29-5 record. Though Anthony will give the Rockets another reliable scoring option, the Rockets will need more of a tough and versatile defender like Tucker to ease the load on Harden and Paul’s shoulders on the defensive end of the floor. If Anthony won’t show a huge improvement in his defense in the training camp, there is a possibility that he will serve as Tucker’s backup next season.