De’Anthony Melton has been a steal of a deal for Sixers

De'Anthony Melton
Philadelphia 76ers’ De’Anthony Melton drives against Atlanta Hawks’ Aaron Holiday during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

De’Anthony Melton was one of the least talked about additions the Sixers made this offseason. Melton came to the Philadelphia 76ers via a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Sixers sent injured shooter Danny Green and the 23rd pick (David Roddy) to Memphis in exchange for the 3&D guard on draft night.

The move came as a welcome surprise for the 76ers as his value appeared significantly higher than what was sent away. The fact that he was on a non-expiring deal only added to the value.

Melton was coming off a career year in Memphis. The former USC Trojan set career highs in games played (73), minutes per game (22.7), steals per game (1.4), rebounds per game (4.5), and points per game (10.8). Combined with Melton’s young age of 24 and defensive instincts, many teams would sell their soul for the chance to draft a player like Melton.

Despite this, the Grizzlies appeared to consider him expendable during the draft, allowing the Sixers to sweep in. Given that the Grizzlies had many free agents this offseason and a new Ja Morant extension kicking in, it was most likely a cost-cutting move to send De’Anthony Melton to Philadelphia. That being said, Melton having the best statistical year of his young career and the Sixers getting him for an aging and injured veteran, plus a late draft pick, is nothing short of a steal.

While De’Anthony Melton’s first season in Philadelphia has started off slower than anticipated, it appears as though he has finally arrived. Since the Harden injury, Melton has been the go-to for the last starting spot, and he has shown why through a combination of gritty defense and hustle plays.

His offense has looked looked solid. It’s as good as it was when in Memphis, but there still seems to be some potential to go even further — which may just be from learning a new offense. Defensively, everything has been as advertised — he’s aggressive, tenacious, and ball-hawk as needed. In the four games he has played since Harden’s injury, De’Anthony Melton has averaged 1.3 blocks, 0.8 steals, and 7.0 rebounds.

While his offense has seemed to struggle since the loss of James Harden, shooting 23.8% from deep and 29.7% from the field, Melton has shown his peculiar skill set and value far outweigh a 23rd pick and Danny Green. De’Anthony Melton’s offense will surely bounce back, hopefully soon, and he has a good chance to be a dark horse contender for Sixth Man of the Year.