Rockets' Mike D'Antoni confident about Carmelo Anthony reunion: Houston's a 'better fit' for Melo than Knicks
D'Antoni coached Anthony in New York but their relationship soured, and he ultimately walked away because of it
A previous pairing between Mike D'Antoni and Carmelo Anthony during their stint with the New York Knicks turned out to be far from a perfect marriage. D'Antoni and Anthony constantly clashed in the Big Apple, leading to D'Antoni's resignation in 2012. However, the Rockets coach remains optimistic that teaming up with the All-Star in Houston will be a different story.
In an interview with USA Today published after with the Houston Rockets on Monday, D'Antoni explained why the pairing in New York didn't work -- and why the second time is a charm.
"In New York, when [the Knicks] gave away half the team [to the Nuggets in the 2011 trade for Anthony] and everybody expected us to win a championship, it really wasn't realistic," D'Antoni said. "It put a lot of pressure on everybody, and it kind of burst the pipes. I think this is totally different. We've got a team that is a whole bunch of veterans that really, we've got one thing in mind, and that's to win a championship, and we have the possibility."
As for clashing styles that played a big factor in clashing heads in New York, D'Antoni says that will no longer be the case between he and Anthony, thanks in part to advances in analytics.
"Back then, there wasn't even analytics," D'Antoni said. "I was going by my gut, and he was going by [his] gut, and it's just, you know, styles clash. And I think now, things have changed and everybody is playing the same way. I think it's a lot better fit and I think we have a really good chance to be really good."
Anthony posted career lows in points per game, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and assists per game with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season. But in Houston alongside playmakers Chris Paul and James Harden, Anthony will be cast in a new role that could involve him coming off the bench if D'Antoni sees it best, according to ESPN. If he does become a sixth man for the first time in his career, he could develop into a primary playmaker for Houston's second unit.
Anthony, who averaged 16.2 points per game last season, joins a Houston team that set a franchise record for most wins last season.
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