Golden State Warriors: Where would Carmelo Anthony be the biggest threat?

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Carmelo Anthony
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Carmelo Anthony /
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Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors /

2. Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets might be the Warriors’ biggest foe in the Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs will continue to be tough and teams like the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder made moves to improve. Still, it might be the Rockets’ time to try to challenge the Warriors.

Golden State has dominated Houston for the last few years, but they have switched things up by trading for star point guard Chris Paul. The Rockets had to unload a lot of players including some key guys like Patrick Beverley and Montrez Harrell, but they got a star. In the NBA, having one top player is worth far more than having a handful of solid players.

Adding Carmelo Anthony to a team with an MVP-caliber James Harden and Paul would form a trio that would stand behind only the triumvirate in Golden State and the Big Three in Cleveland. It would be three strong veterans in a system that maximizes offense like no other. They would, at least, be fun.

The Rockets with Anthony would be potent, if the two newcomers buy into the system and let Harden run the show. Anthony shot nearly 42 percent from three in catch-and-shoot situations, looks that Harden’s Houston team love to get. They would have the most firepower in the West outside of the Bay Area.

But their pace could be an issue. Harden, in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, wants to play fast. They want to run and shoot threes. Paul and, to a greater extent, Anthony like to slow things down. The ball can stick with them.

Like Portland, Houston’s defense would not improve. With Paul, they came out even, if not on the winning end of the Beverly swap. Anthony doesn’t give them the defensive lift that they would need to slow down Golden State’s high-octane offense.

There would be growing pains. Let’s not forget that Anthony forced D’Antoni out of New York. So, not only will they need to learn how to synchronize on the court, but they would need to settle any extra problems that are, surely, still lingering.

Incorporating players like Paul and Anthony probably won’t be easy. Though they are both still good players in their own ways, they have styles that will probably clash with the coach and the best player on the team. If they can get it together though, they will be a top-three seed and a Western Conference finalist.

Houston’s threat level is higher than Portland’s, but not enough to instill fear in Golden State. The real issue is that they would have one half of the Banana Boat crew with the other two entering free agency next season. While Dwyane Wade continues to decline, LeBron James still remains a force to be reckoned with.

So, in that sense, perhaps Houston’s threat level is strongest, but in a different sense. They will have the most power next summer.