Anthony looking to make basketball fun again in Houston
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Through the first week of camp with the Houston Rockets, all indications are that Carmelo Anthony will be OK coming off the bench if that’s the role coach Mike D’Antoni gives him.
That doesn’t mean the 10-time All-Star wants to discuss it.
“I don’t like talking about it,” Anthony said Saturday before the team’s last practice at McNeese State before returning to Houston. “People always been speculating. They always speculate so I will continue not to talk about it.”
While Anthony, who is in his first year with the Rockets after one tumultuous season in Oklahoma City, refused to discuss whether he’ll start or be a reserve, he had plenty to say about a variety of other subjects, candidly answering every other question thrown his way. He reflected on his year with the Thunder, a place where he never seemed to fit in and averaged a career-low 16.2 points in 78 starts.
He said he got “caught up” in outside opinions of what people believed he should do and recounted all the thoughts that were swimming through his head last season.
″(People saying) Oh, he’s a stretch 4,” Anthony said. “Oh, he should come off the bench. Oh, he should not shoot this many times. Oh, he should just let Russ (Westbrook) do this. So, it was just so much of that that was ... going around that I had to block it out and get away from it and not even think about it.”
But even after he figured out how to do that, he still had to handle all of those who professed to know things about him when they had no clue what was really happening.
“I don’t really care about somebody telling me how I think,” he said. “A lot of people that’s talking about me or has an opinion don’t really know who I am. Never talked to me before. Don’t know how I think. So, it’s funny to me to just hear a quote from somebody else saying: ‘He feels like this or he feels like that. And he should do this, or he should do that. Or he even said this or said that.’”
For the record, how Anthony feels now is happy and invigorated about his fresh start in Houston. Entering his 16th NBA season, he’s is looking forward to helping the Rockets contend for a title after they fell to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals last season.
He hopes all the extra things he dealt with in Oklahoma City are behind him and that he can get back to basics and find joy in basketball again.
“Just enjoy the game and play basketball ... I’ve been doing it for a long time,” he said. “I still know how to do it. I’ve just got to make it fun. The game just has to be fun.”
Early on, he’s found that with the Rockets, where he’s been welcomed from Day 1. The transition has been eased by how eager stars like James Harden and Chris Paul have been to integrate him into what they’re doing.
“They already envision me being on this team and what I can do and my role on this team,” Anthony said. “So, it was easier for them to just bring me along and say, ‘This is where you should be, this is what you have to do,’ and that made my transition a lot easier.”
D’Antoni said Anthony is in great shape and the coach is eager to see how he’ll mesh with his team when the Rockets open their exhibition schedule on Tuesday against Memphis.
“He’s a great basketball player, so we just try to make it optimal for him and us,” D’Antoni said. “It’s always a little bit of a challenge, but if you had asked me the same question (last year) about James and Chris I would have said the same thing: ‘Well, it looks good. I’m excited.’ So same thing with him.”
“We’ll just have to wait and see with more proof down the road,” D’Antoni continued. “But yeah, it looks good.”