I, much like the Houston Rockets, enjoy a good color-coordinated beach day. Here are the Rockets on Thursday, bonding at an unnamed location:
There’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s get started.
Carmelo Anthony Personality Test
I don’t trust anyone who claims winter is the best season. The only real choices are, and have always been: (1) summer, (2) fall, (3) lying about it to be cute. Melo, wearing a hoodie on the beach on September 6, is choosing the third option. How do I know he’s pretending? Melo is a man of bits. He’s very committed to the Hoodie Melo bit:
He’s long been committed to the curmudgeonly veteran bit. (Everyone likes Vanessa Carlton.) He’s committed to the “I’m still an NBA starter on a championship team” bit. And Melo’s most prominent bit is over-layering:
Carmelo Anthony is the new king of winterfell pic.twitter.com/dXdfEGOwsq— Tony X. (@soIoucity) March 15, 2017
Hoodie Melo cropped up before the start of last season, after Melo wore a hoodie indoors during training sessions because he didn’t have a recent haircut. Then he took it outdoors, then swapped out the gray hoodie for a red one, then a white one, then he added a hook shot in it, then Melo took his official Oklahoma City media day photos with a hoodie underneath his jersey. Now he’s wearing one on the beach. Houston might be hoping that some of his bits will change while he’s with them, but the hoodie is here to stay.
Is That … Rob Gray?
Not only is it Rob Gray, it’s Rob Gray without a man bun!
Houston signed Gray in August after the 6-foot-1 guard out of the University of Houston went undrafted. You’ll notice how familiar with each other Harden and Gray already look—if there’s anywhere Gray fits into the league, it’s with the Rockets. He played at the University of Houston for three years, during which he became one of college basketball’s top shooting guards. Tell me this doesn’t have Rockets rotation player written all over it:
Even though Rob Gray missed the shot, he made his man look silly ... This kid has been in the lab watching Harden tapes pic.twitter.com/RtXGg6EqOc— Curtlow ™ (@SWHTown30) March 18, 2018
Speaking of the backcourt, new acquisition Brandon Knight wasn’t on the beach trip (or at least wasn’t in the photo). But Michael Carter-Williams, whom Houston signed this offseason to a one-year, $1.75 million minimum contract, was cozied up with his fellow guards on the right.
Overall Team Body Language
Houston lost two pieces of its core from last season in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, and added pieces that weren’t sure bets chemistry-wise, like Melo, MCW, and Knight. This picture doesn’t answer any of those on-court questions, but it is a small positive sign for team chemistry.
Everyone appears to be in their happy place: Eric Gordon is off to the side, contributing to the picture in the humblest way possible; Melo is front and center; Chris Paul looks like the Cool Dad hanging with the young kids; P.J. Tucker is … in a wetsuit (?). Other than Gerald Green, who doesn’t seem to love the sun—
—everyone seems content. They’re on the beach. It’s not winter. Why shouldn’t they be?