De’Anthony Melton looks to have found his footing after slow start

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Melton
Philadelphia 76ers’ De’Anthony Melton, center, goes up for a shot against Cleveland Cavaliers’ Darius Garland, left, and Georges Niang during the first half of an NBA basketball in-season tournament game, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

De’Anthony Melton has truly come to life in his last few games for the Philadelphia 76ers. After an uneven start to the season, he seems to have finally found his rhythm with the Sixers offensively.

The starting shooting guard and key defensive cog has been making impactful plays all season long, though mostly on the defensive side of the ball. He has started in all 19 of the Sixers games, and on the season, he ranks tied for seventh in deflections per game with 3.3 while also securing 1.3 steals per game.

Mr. Do Something, as he is lovingly called, also ranks fifth in the NBA in total deflection with 63. However, his offensive game seems to have finally settled in as he settles into his new starting role. He has begun to show the potential that fans have been waiting for.

Melton has excelled as of late

Melton
Philadelphia 76ers’ De’Anthony Melton, left, goes up for a shot against Cleveland Cavaliers’ Max Strus during the first half of an NBA basketball in-season tournament game, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In his last ten games, Melton has been nothing short of a game-changer. Over that course of time, Melton has averaged 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. In his first nine games, Melton averaged only 8.1 points on 32.5% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. Over that recent ten-game stretch, Melton has been shooting 44.3% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc. He has also averaged 1.3 steals per game in that same span.

This is a night-and-day difference that all started after Melton dropped a casual 30 points in a loss against the Indiana Pacers. The soon-to-be free agent next year has been playing incredibly in his contract year, working to prove that he belongs in the Sixers’ long-term plans.

After his slow start to the season, many were wondering if it was time to look elsewhere for the starting shooting guard spot, whether through rumored trades or deeper into the roster. Yet, Nurse and the Sixers stayed faithful to the young soon-to-be free agent, and Melton has rewarded them so far.

Melton took that trust and has been an absolute force to be reckoned with. His defensive instincts, his improved offense, and his rising confidence have made him one of the strongest members of the Philadelphia 76ers and have turned him into a true game-changer.