It is so fitting that this shot went in, as Melo will forever believe his way of playing is the right way. But we all know by now that this is literally the lowest-percentage shot any NBA player can take -- a long-range contested 2-pointer. Houston has built its entire team around NOT taking this shot, yet here comes Melo, his way or the highway. And he kept riding these shots for the rest of the night, all your nerdy analytics be damned. As you might've guessed, it didn't go well. Here's his next mid-range shot: A short while later, Melo tried his patented dribble-into-a-rhythm-like-he's-actually-weighing-his-options-when-everyone-in-the-world-knows-he's-pulling-up mid-range jumper, which Anthony Davis laughably erased:
This is so bad -- pure isolation, everyone else standing around while an absolutely average NBA shooter who still thinks he's elite tries to go one-on-one against an elite defender for a terribly low-percentage shot. You can give Melo the benefit of the doubt and say he can't change his deeply embedded basketball instincts with the snap of a finger. You can convince yourself that in time he will adapt his game and start playing with some restraint and more in line with how the Rockets play. But what evidence has Melo ever provided that he will step away from his own way of doing things for the betterment of the team?
Oh, and the Rockets also gave up 131 points to the Pelicans in an embarrassing opening-night loss at home. Remember all that talk about Houston getting worse on defense with the loss of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute? Yeah, it was true. And here's a newsflash: Melo isn't the answer on that end, either.