Carmelo Anthony coming off the bench for Rockets for 1st time in his career

Jason Owens
For the first time in his 1,054-game NBA career, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3706/" data-ylk="slk:Carmelo Anthony">Carmelo Anthony</a> is not a starter. (AP)
For the first time in his 1,054-game NBA career, Carmelo Anthony is not a starter. (AP)

It’s official.

Carmelo Anthony has transitioned into the backup phase of his career.

Carmelo Anthony not in Rockets starting lineup

Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni announced his starting lineup ahead of Wednesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, and Anthony is not part of it.

Chris Paul, James Harden, P.J. Tucker, James Ennis and Clint Capela will take the floor for the opening tip.

Backup for the first time

Wednesday’s is the first game in his 1,054-game career that Anthony is not in the starting lineup.

Anthony famously scoffed at the idea of coming of the bench last season for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Anthony softened stance on starting in Houston

He changed his tune this offseason, apparently more self-aware of his diminishing skillset after 15 years in the NBA and effectively being ousted after struggling in Oklahoma City.

“All the questions of coming off the bench, I don’t want to answer those questions at the end of the day,” Anthony said at Houston’s media day. “Whatever I have to do to help this team win a championship, that’s what’s going to be done.”

The Rockets already have two ball-dominant guards in the starting lineup in Paul and Harden. In an offense that’s heavy on isolation, it was difficult to imagine a player like Anthony who needs the ball in his hands coexisting in a lineup with Houston’s established playmakers.

A sixth-man role where Anthony could play a starring role on the team’s second unit made since from day one. That appears to be the conclusion D’Antoni reached.

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