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James Harden on Carmelo Anthony: ‘We will bring the best out of him’

2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team Minicamp

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 26: James Harden #47 of the United States shoots during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Carmelo Anthony will soon be a Houston Rocket. The last steps of the trade that sent him to Atlanta have to be finalized (guys have to report to their new teams, pass a physical, etc.), then he has clear waivers. All of that will take a few days, maybe a week. But he will be a Rocket.

The question everyone is asking now is about fit in Houston — Anthony isolates (as do other Rockets, but they pass out of it more), he stops the ball, and he’s not an interested defender. He’s had issues in the past with coach Mike D’Antoni. ‘Melo’s role may be closer to what he saw in the playoffs in Oklahoma City, where he sat in the fourth quarter, and can he accept that?

James Harden is still pumping up the addition and says communication — which is already underway — will be the key. Via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle and Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News:

If you’re a Rockets’ fan, you have to like that approach and mentality.

I think Anthony will fit better in Houston than his many critics do. He’s not plug-and-play for Trevor Ariza (gone to Phoenix), but the man can still space the floor, he can punish switches, he has a catch-and-shoot game, and bottom line the man can just get buckets. Not as efficiently as he once did, but he can score. The Rockets had the second-best offense in the NBA last season (virtually tied with Golden State for the top spot), and Anthony will make it better.

Picture him starting the first/third quarters, with Chris Paul and Harden making sure Anthony gets lots of touches. Those two stars get to stay a little fresher for the big pushes later. Anthony will get put in a position to play his game, and to contribute. Now, in a close game late, D’Antoni will want James Ennis out on the court for defensive reasons, and we’ll see how that plays, but Anthony is not a disaster. I think the Rockets took a small step back this summer (because of the lost defense) but they are still a threat to the Warriors.