Skip Bayless walks through how Carmelo Anthony will impact the Western Conference

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Skip Bayless outlines to Shannon Sharpe and Jenny Taft on Undisputed how Carmelo Anthony will help the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference.

- How did Houston hang in and then take control of the Golden State series?


- Defense.

- Mbah a Moute is the reason.

SKIP BAYLESS: Football defense.

- Tucker. Yes.

- Physical. Beat 'em up kind of defense. Push 'em around. Knock 'em off their spots kind of defense. Led by Tucker and Trevor Ariza, who is a tough guy. And a leader of that team. And he's no more.

And Mbah a Moute does all the dirty work for them. He-- he just does whatever you ask him to do. And I'd love him as a guts and glue guy on your team. He's sort of a Draymond-- but he's not Draymond-- but he played that role for them. And he's gone.

And now Clint Capela has been sitting out there on the market saying, somebody please make an offer for me. Nobody made an offer for him because he's a restricted free agent. So their rim protector, I'm going to guess, is going to come back not all that happy. Because he's sort of had to hat in hand come back.

He had to sort of crawl back to Houston and say, OK. I'll take whatever you're going to give me. And I'll play it out. Right?

- Yeah, take to one of your deals. 6 million and get back to-- get back in the free agent market in 2019.

- I just don't know how happy he's going to play next year. Not sure about that. So to me, if this team does add Carmelo Anthony to this volatile mix-- I didn't love it last year. They shocked me. They won 65 games last year because Chris Paul and James Harden figured it out. I don't know how they did it. I'm in awe.

It took-- remember? It took the whole offseason. They're playing here at UCLA-- we're not far from UCLA where we sit right now-- the-- they're playing pickup games together trying to figure each other out. And they sacrificed for each other. It was a joy for me to watch the two big ego guys. And it was mostly Chris Paul sacrificing his ego.

But when-- when it came crunch time, Chris Paul was taking over the Golden State series.

SHANNON SHARPE: Yeah. Those big buckets that they needed at the end, it was Chris Paul. Not James Harden.

- He's the-- he's the big guts guy. Then he gets hurt. And we know the rest of the story.


- So to me, if Carmelo Anthony is added to this mix, the team most likely to collapse next year is the Houston Rockets. The team I would not bet on is the Houston Rockets. I'm not saying that-- that Carmelo is a team obliterater type-- a Terrell Owens type-- he's passive aggressive in the locker room. He's actually-- I know him a little-- he's a good guy. His heart's good.

But he just thinks he's a superstar. And he's no longer a superstar.

SHANNON SHARPE: No. No he's not.

- And I don't see how he fits here. I thought they could work him into the mix in Oklahoma City. And it kind of worked and didn't work. It hit and it missed.

- And it's Oklahoma City's fault.

- It was Okahom-- Huh? Well, that's what he said. That it's Oklahoma City's fault. And by the way, he took a career high 474 3-point shots last year. So he tried to become a spot-up shooter. But what did he say in the end? They didn't use me right.

So he's going to go to Houston to the coach who said he didn't really click with the first time around with D'Antoni. And say, you-- you got to use me different. What does he want to do? How does he view himself?

SHANNON SHARPE: He want the ball! He need the--

SKIP BAYLESS: He is a ball stopping, ball dominant, low post, dribble, dribble, dribble, back you down, take a smaller, weaker defender, and just-- just back him into the bucket. Right? That's Carmelo. That was his game in New York and in Denver. Right?

SHANNON SHARPE: Correct.That is correct.

- And at Syracuse. That's what he did. Because he is bullish. Kobe always said he was my toughest cover in the low post because he was just too strong for me.


- He's just too big. He's-- he's a big man. And he's a naturally strong-- I don't think he's weightlifter strong-- he's just born strong.


- So the point is, if you have-- if you try to incorporate any of that in that Houston attack, it just stalls it. It just stops it cold. It loses momentum. It loses its identity that it built last year.

So all of a sudden, I like Oklahoma City a little better without Carmelo. And obviously they'll get Roberson back, their best defender. And--

SHANNON SHARPE: Big Adams is a monster on the glass?

SKIP BAYLESS: They do. I just like them a little better without Carmelo. And I don't like Houston nearly as much with Carmelo. So they won 65. I could see them being 8 or 10 games worse with Carmelo, without a reason, without Mbah a Moute, and with a unhappy Capela.

And I could see Oklahoma City improving by about five games. Because--

SHANNON SHARPE: That'll be 53, 54 wins.

SKIP BAYLESS: So all of a sudden, here's my new mix in the West. What this does for Golden State is it just makes Golden State the most prohibitive favorite I've ever seen in all my years of covering the NBA. I just-- especially if DeMarcus Cousins gets back 90% of what he was by January.

SHANNON SHARPE: If he get back 70%.

SKIP BAYLESS: OK. But it's-- they're just-- they're in this whole other echelon. They're in another universe from the best Western Conference. You know, the West is still better than the East, to me.

- It is.

- But Golden State's way better than anyone in the West. Well that's a shocking thought to me because that makes them the most prohibitive NBA favorite overall that I've ever seen. So they're in this other league by themselves. And then we have a second echelon. And I think Oklahoma City is going to challenge in the second echelon to be the best team.

And Utah will be right there because it got no worse. Added Grayson Allen. I just think they're going to be really good. They'll-- they'll get a little better just because Donovan Mitchell will be a be-- he'll be a sophomore. And he's going to be a superstar. Portland was the third seed last year. They got no worse.

They'll be just what they are in the regular season. I don't trust them in the postseason. But they're going to be a force in the regular season. New Orleans got better. When Mirotic joined them, they went on a 20-10 run. You know, 20 and-- won 20 out of 30. So they're going to be a little better.

And then I'll put Houston in there. But they're going to be just fighting in the second echelon mix.

SHANNON SHARPE: Don't think to hear what you're doing.

SKIP BAYLESS: I just did it.

- Yeah. Don't think I--

- There's a third echelon. And it's led by-- I'm going to give you this-- it's led by the Lakers in the third echelon. Fighting for the bottom of the Western Conference standings with Denver, which missed the playoffs by one, you know, playoff for the playoff games, because it ended up tied with Minnesota at the end.

Denver got a little better. Isaiah Thomas will help them. If he's 90% of what he used to be, I think he will help them a lot. San Antonio will be a little better. They didn't have Kawhi last year. They got DeMar DeRozan now this year. They'll just be a little bit better. And they won 47 games last year. They're going to be a factor at the bottom of the standings.

And you loved Minnesota all year. And they--


- OK. OK. Past tense. OK. I got it. Did they get any worse? Did they do anything wrong?

- Is Andrew Wiggins going to get any better?

SKIP BAYLESS: I don't know. Is Jimmy Butler-- he missed what, 23 games last year? Is he going to play 80 games? So what if he does?

- Is Cat going to play like he played in the regular season or in the playoffs?

SKIP BAYLESS: I don't know. Probably regular season.

SHANNON SHARPE: Oh, I hope so.