On draft night, the Philadelphia 76ers got their offseason rolling with a draft night trade to begin retooling their roster. The Sixers traded Danny Green and the rights to the 23rd pick in the 2022 draft in exchange for De’Anthony Melton.
An athletic 6’2 combo guard, De’Anthony Melton was a major piece to the Memphis Grizzlies and their resurgence the previous two seasons. Melton averaged career highs in points (10.8), assists (2.7), rebounds (4.5), steals (1.4), and minutes (22.7).
Melton’s arrival provided the Sixers with a versatile two-way player who can guard 1-3 and be able to create his own shot if needed. With the front office’s emphasis on creating a roster of two-way players, De’Anthony Melton fit the mold of the player they were looking for.
When training camp began for the team, many Sixers praised De’Anthony Melton’s defensive energy and tenacity. Head coach Doc Rivers even said Melton disrupted their offense so much with full-court pressure that they had to tell him to dial it back so they could work on their offensive sets. He has also been tasked to be the first guard off the bench when James Harden or Tyrese Maxey sits.
Although De’Anthony Melton has played alongside other star guards like Ja Morant, it has taken him a few games to find his niche on this team. In his first three games with the Sixers, he averaged 4.6 points per game. He seems to be getting in his groove offensively and defensively in his last four games. He has averaged 11.5 points per game and with a total of 10 steals, 16 rebounds, and 16 assists in those last four outings.
Melton’s ability to affect the game on the defensive end and play alongside James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Joel Embiid is what makes him such a great fit with this team. He will be called upon through the season to start or play in small-ball lineups. He will also be counted on to help guard some of the best perimeter players in the NBA.
De’Anthony Melton will not only be a crucial part of this team this season but also can, and should, be going forward as this team grows over the next few seasons.