Would Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose be a good pairing in Chicago?
Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose are both superstars in the NBA, and when both healthy, are top 10 players in the NBA. However, recently both players have struggled to have success in terms of championships. Carmelo was the #3 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets, but for the past ten seasons he’s only been out of the first round of the playoffs twice and has suffered eight one-and-done trips as a member of both the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks. The Knicks made a trade to pair next free agent pickup Amare Stoudamire along with another superstar.
However, for that year it backfired. The Knicks offense was an up-tempo, pick and roll, Run n’ Gun style under coach Mike D’Antoni with Amare as the focal point and 3 point shooters. They traded away Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets for Melo, Chauncey Billups, and three other players who aren’t even on a NBA team anymore. D’Antoni’s system with Amare and Melo didn’t work because both players need the ball in their hands to be effective.
Now, just two years later, D’Antoni is coaching the Lakers, Billups is back in Detroit, Amare is now a broken down role player and Melo is on an island by himself with no consistent offensive help. Jim Dolan put his team in a grim situation going into 2014. Melo has the stigma of being a ball hog and a ball stopper but when you watch the Knicks play, coach Mike Woodson doesn’t put his team in sets to move the ball or to help Melo get better looks. Also, when Andrea Bargnani, a 7 foot center that shoot 3s and averages 5 rebounds a game, is your #2 option can you really blame Melo? To make matters worse, each Knicks loss helps the Nuggets get a top pick in a loaded NBA draft. Long story short, Dolan could be saying bye to the only bright spot about this Knicks team and they could be heading for another 5-7 years of mediocrity.
Derrick Rose’s situation is completely different. Rather than having to deal with talent around him, his health has been a major concern since the 2012 season. It all started with Rose tearing his ACL in game one of the NBA playoffs 1st round against the Sixers, as coach Tom Thibodeau elected to keep his starters on the floor, and the rest is history.
He looked back to form against preseason competition and was healthy which was the Bulls needed to help them become a finals contended. Sadly, when the regular season started, Rose looked rusty, averaging only about 16 ppg and shooting a career low 35% from the floor and Rose was the only one in that offense can create his own shot. Unfortunately, Rose suffered another season-ending injury earlier this season. Now with Rose out ,the Bulls have no one to create their own shot and have to heavily depend on ball movement for offense. Suddenly, it looks like Carlos Boozer has to step up and become the #1 option, especially now after the Bulls traded Loul Deng got traded to the Cavs. Losing Rose again hurts especially with just getting him back, but as long as coach Thibodeau is coaching in Chicago, never count out the Bulls.
With the two teams, and players in difficult situations, the question becomes, would Melo and Rose be a good fit together?
I believe both parties need each other. Melo wouldn’t be a bad fit for the Bulls. You have a coach like Thibodeau that prides himself to a hard-working culture, which may force Melo to conform to the Bulls defensive minded style of play, unlike his situation with Woodson and the Knicks.
If Melo comes to Chicago, I think he knows he will have to turn his defensive weakness into a strength. The addition of Melo would also give the Bulls another guy on the team outside of Rose that can not only create their own shot but take over a game, especially in late game situation. Bulls are already fundamentally sound defensive that having Carmelo on the won’t cripple them defensively. The Bulls have some hope for the future, as they possess a 1st round pick in a draft which has the potential to have several franchise players. Say what you want about Melo being a ball hog, but as of right now Melo is in a situation where he has to jack up shot because he has no consistent offensive help. In addition, the Knicks don’t hold him accountable and let him play freely. Chicago’s is different and maybe the change of scenery can help both the Bulls and Carmelo.
Think about it. At this point the Heat will only go as far as Lebron takes him, with Wade’s health being a constant concern. In theory, The Big 3 could break up next year, which leaves Indy as the only stable team left in the conference. The Brooklyn Nets went all in with acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, which seems like a mistake thus far. The Nets are going to be stuck with dead-end contracts due to them going well over the luxury tax. With teams like the Sixers, the Magic and Celtics still 2-3 off from a legitimate threat, the rest of the East is mediocre. If the Bulls management pull this off right, the Bulls can become a legitimate title contender next year.
I know the biggest destination for Carmelo is in LA with Kobe, but Chicago works out better for Melo. Kobe is 35, coming off multiple injuries, and will be 36 going into the 2014 season. I know Kobe is a rare and special case but there are a couple of questions: How well will Kobe even play after he returns from his injuries? And two; how much longer does Kobe have until he calls it a career? Those need to be considered because Melo could find himself in a situation he’s already in as a Knick; by himself with no help.
The Lakers roster is full of expiring contracts, with the exception of Steve Nash, thus the Lakers are going to have to build their team and make it appealing enough to sway Melo. On the other hand, Chicago already has the core pieces in place with Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and the aforementioned Rose. Chicago also has an advantage in the coaching department, as the Lakers have Mike D’Antoni as their current head coach, and we have already seen how well the pairing of D’Antoni and Melo worked out. Chicago has Thibodeau, who I have already touched on the potential improvement he can bring to Melo’s game.
In terms of culture, Los Angeles is the 2nd most winning organization in the NBA; the ideal place for stars to come who want the spotlight. As we all know, the Lakers have a rich history of winning championships and Hall of Fame players. The fans in LA demand success and championships every year. Chicago is a blue-collar organization that is all about hard work, effort and heart. Although the Lakers have had more success, the Bulls dominated the 90s with grit, heart and will with Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen leading the charge. Also, Chicago is home of the most loyal fan bases in the entire NBA, demanding success and hard work from their players every night.
Carmelo has a tough choice to make but I do believe if Carmelo is serious about winning a championship, then going to Chicago to team up with Derrick Rose is the best ideal spot for him.
Then again it’s just a theory.
Pass The Pill Contributor: Kristopher Thomas
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