CREIGHT EXPECTATIONS

Patrick Creighton: Melo to Houston may be inevitable, but it’s still a really bad idea

Carmelo Anthony is a bad idea. Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

All the revisionist history in the world cannot change the truth about the past.  When it comes to betting on someone’s future, their past is all we have to go on. History shows it’s a very good indicator.

As more and more reports continue to surface regarding the impending marriage of the Houston Rockets and Carmelo Anthony, I’ve noticed many folks in the media changing their tunes on Melo, accepting his inevitable presence on the Rockets.  Their tones about him have changed, their demeanor towards him has changed, and they are noticeably omitting important facts about him to portray him in a better light.

One of the most common ones I’ve noticed is the idea that Melo & his former coach with the Knicks (and proposed new coach with the Rockets) Mike D’Antoni clashed, and MDA stepped down/resigned midseason.  It’s a very general way of explaining things in a manner to make Melo look better. It’s hardly an accurate depiction of what happened.

It leaves out the very important details of why Melo & MDA clashed, which was 100% on Melo.  Melo refused to play D’Antoni’s system, and was not only defiant about it, but marched into the head coach’s office with buddy Chauncey Billups in tow to demand that MDA scrap the up-tempo pace to play Melo’s way.  Carmelo never wanted to give the offense a chance, never wanted to be coached in it, he just wanted to give his own orders.

It also omits why D’Antoni resigned as head coach of the Knicks.  D’Antoni’s resignation immediately followed an ultimatum given by Anthony to Knicks management that they needed to get rid of D’Antoni or he would demand to be traded.

Melo even admitted to the media to dogging it while playing for MDA, and how he was trying harder “especially on the defensive end” after MDA had stepped aside.

None of these things are new, or surprises.  They have all been reported on and can easily be found by using your friend Google.

Carmelo demanded his way out of Denver, to only go to New York.  He held the team hostage the entire season until Knicks owner James Dolan decided to hand away all the young players on the team for Anthony, overstepping his team president Donnie Walsh who was waiting out the Nuggets to lower their demands, recognizing they had no leverage.

Melo then demanded the Knicks get rid of D’Antoni.  Melo also refused to accept or work with Jeremy Lin, who Melo resented for being successful while he was injured and unable to play.

Melo then got his wish to play for a contender when the Knicks traded him to Oklahoma City last season, but he never seemed to mesh with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and found himself getting benched frequently in the playoffs.  After the season he accused the team of having no real plan for him, and that he wouldn’t make any additional sacrifices for the team’s benefit.

Those hoping for Anthony to be successful in a “catch and shoot” role similar to what Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson did, should be reminded that after the season Carmelo said he doesn’t think he “can be effective as that type of player.”

The only thing that seems to be permeating through each suddenly more positive Melo piece popping up online is the concept that somehow, someway, after a career of being a selfish turd who never made players around him better, all of the sudden because he’s coming to Houston, he will change his stripes, be a good boy, play nice, and everything will work out.  

Daryl Morey chasing the fish that got away isn’t going to have a Disney fairy tale ending.  It’s only going to have disappointment. Lots and lots of disappointment.

That much is inevitable.

Patrick Creighton hosts “LateHits” weeknights 7-9p on ESPN 97.5 Houston; “Straight Heat” weekdays 4-7p CT on SB Nation Radio.  Follow him on Twitter: @pcreighton1

 

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Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies have plenty of work to do this offseason. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

After an underwhelming win against one of the worst teams in the nation last Saturday against UMASS, the Aggies looked like they were poised to head into the final game of the year against LSU unmotivated and shorthanded. With rumors of star recruits rushing to the transfer portal, Jimbo Fisher was fighting an uphill battle to topple the fifth-ranked LSU Tigers. In his first year with the Tigers, head coach Brian Kelly has already gotten his squad to the SEC Championship game. That certainly has got to rub Coach Fisher the wrong way as his best finish in the SEC to this point has been second in 2020. But instead of laying down and dying, the Aggies capped off arguably the most disappointing season in program history on Saturday with a signature win for Jimbo Fisher and his program.

The win over LSU wasn't just some fluke win, that was caused by LSU shooting itself in the foot over and over again. The Aggies were just flat-out the better team on Saturday. They won the turnover battle, time of possession, had more passing and rushing yards and were more effective on third downs. The Ags took playing for the seniors like Demani Richardson, Connor Choate and Max Wright to heart and pulled out an impressive and gutsy win. Unfortunately, that performance left a question on the table, where was this all year? To answer that, I want to go back to the first article I wrote this year and dive into how the Maroon and White faired in what I thought would be the key areas.

The three main areas I was watching closely on this team were quarterback play, how many freshmen contributed and how DJ Durkin, the new defensive coordinator performed with his new schemes. First up, quarterback play. The Aggies saw three different starting quarterbacks in the 2022 season. First, Haynes King, who was benched due to performance and injuries. Then Max Johnson, who was knocked out for the season due to injury and finally, Connor Weigman. Weigman only missed one game due to illness but showed in every start that he is worth those five stars he got as a recruit. The position was overall a disappointment but the future is bright going forward with #15 taking the snaps.

Next up, freshman impact. Of the 30 total true freshman on A&M’s roster 16 of them saw significant playing time in 2022 and 23 of them got on the field at some point during the year. With a team so decimated with injuries, many of them got on the field maybe a little sooner than expected. However, they did not disappoint. Many of them had an instant impact, such as Connor Weigman, Donovan Green, Evan Stewart or Bryce Anderson. Not to mention that defensive line… if Jimbo can keep these guys on campus and keep them out of the transfer portal, this team will be dangerous in 2023.

Finally, the new defensive coordinator DJ Durkin had some big shoes to fill in 2022 with Mike Elko’s departure. His unit struggled at times during the year, mostly against the run. As of this writing, the Aggies rank 124th in the nation in run defense. That's not good. But against the pass, they are up in 1st. So for Durkin in his first year, it was the middle of the road. He was far from the biggest problem with the dismal 5-7 season.

With all that being said the 2022 season is in the books. A&M will not go bowling for the first time since 2008 and Jimbo Fisher will have a lot to work on this offseason to get the ship righted. He has already relieved offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey of his duties in what is expected to be the first of many staff changes. Recruiting will be interesting to follow as well, the Ags are not projected to have a recruiting class anywhere near as impressive as last year. All these factors aside, the Aggies will most likely be a preseason top-10 team in 2023 and believe me, I have already started counting down the days until the Aggies take to Kyle Field to face New Mexico on September 2nd.

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