Although the Houston Rockets have rebounded a bit after a slow start where they won just one of their first six games, pundits have still called attention to how Carmelo Anthony seems to be playing below expectations after joining the team in the 2018 off season. Despite his credentials as a 10-time All-Star and former scoring champion, Anthony has been used in a sixth-man role for the most part and is currently posting the lowest averages in his 16-year NBA career. With that in mind, former NBA player Richard Jefferson suggested that it might be time for “Melo” to go on a “farewell tour,” as he isn’t the same dynamic player he used to be.
Appearing on ESPN’s The Jump on Friday, Jefferson joined regular host Rachel Nichols and NBA legend Scottie Pippen to discuss various NBA-related topics, including the visiting Rockets’ 98-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. As quoted by USA Today’sFor The Win, Jefferson disagreed with Pippen when the former Chicago Bulls star downplayed Anthony’s poor performance against his former team, and insisted that the Rockets forward is “past his prime” and no longer capable of regularly taking games over like he used to.
“He is not who he once was. This team – and there was a lot of people nervous about how he would fit in … and I think he’s doing his best, but he’s just not that player anymore,” said Jefferson.
“He can’t get to the [basket] the way he once [did]. He can’t finish. The one bucket that he made was a goaltend. Right? He doesn’t elevate the same way anymore, and that makes it tougher for everyone around you.”
When asked by Nichols about what he expects from Carmelo Anthony going forward, Jefferson said that he wants him to have a “similar farewell tour” to Dwyane Wade, who, as previously reported by CBS Sports, recently re-signed with the Miami Heat to play one final season for the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2003. Jefferson added that it’s “unrealistic” for fans to expect Anthony to go beyond his present role as one of the Houston Rockets’ top bench players.
With their loss to the Thunder, the Rockets dropped to a 4-6 record, putting them at 12th place in the Western Conference and one-half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans, who both have 5-6 records.
Carmelo Anthony, who scored only two points on 1-for-11 shooting against Oklahoma City, is currently averaging 13.4 points and 5.4 points in 29.4 minutes per game for the Rockets, according to his Basketball-Reference player page. The 34-year-old former All-Star forward has career averages of 24 points, 6.5 rebounds, and three assists per game, and played one season for the Thunder prior to his move to Houston for the 2018-19 NBA season.