Rockets News: Carmelo Anthony Talks About Struggle Coming Off The Bench For The First Time

Carmelo Anthony poses, basketball in hands.
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

In his combined stints with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony served as an anchor for the team and entered all of his games as part of the starting lineup. Last season, Anthony was given the opportunity to team up with other NBA superstars — Russell Westbrook and Paul George — on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Anthony was noticeably uncomfortable as the Thunder’s third scoring option, but despite their struggle, he still refused to be part of the second unit.

However, his mindset changed when he signed with the Houston Rockets in the recent offseason. Unlike in Oklahoma City, Carmelo Anthony expressed his willingness to make a huge sacrifice in his game just to help the Rockets achieve their main goal in the 2018-19 NBA season. For the first time in his NBA career, Anthony came off the bench as the Rockets faced the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night at the Toyota Center.

Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Carmelo Anthony has admitted that he needs to undergo a huge adjustment in his game as a member of the Rockets’ second unit. In their loss to the Pelicans, Anthony missed his final six shots and finished the game with only nine points on 30 percent shooting from the field. Despite his struggle, the veteran small forward remains confident that he can get used to his new role.

“It’s challenging mentally more so than anything, having to prepare for the game differently,” Anthony said. “Other than that, it’s a challenge all the way around. It’s just a matter of how I’m going to react to that challenge and accepting that challenge, which I am, which I will do. For me, at this point, it’s more about what I have to do for the sake of the team, instead of trying to just go out there and do whatever or trying to have a specific role.”

Carmelo Anthony’s poor performance isn’t the only thing that should be blamed for the Rockets’ loss to the Pelicans. After ranking sixth in defensive efficiency last season, the Rockets offered up one of their worst defensive performances on Wednesday night. This might be attributed to the departure of Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, and associate head coach and defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik during the recent offseason.

Anthony believes that the Rockets can learn from their mistakes and perform better on both ends of the floor in the following games. In their second game of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Rockets will be facing the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night at the Staples Center.