With the off-season progressing, we took the time to talk in depth about the team, its aspirations and its potential limitations. Throughout all those chatters, one noteworthy addition seems to be flying under the radar: earlier this summer, Daryl Morey and the front office passed on the 23rd pick of the draft in exchange of Memphis’ De’Anthony Melton. At the time, this trade was rightfully judged as a “common Daryl W”. It’s more than a win, it’s a game changer for the Sixers.

Drafted as a second rounder in 2018 by Daryl’s Rockets, Melton will enter his fifth season in the league at 24 years old. The combo-guard was an effective and eminent contributor to the Grizzlies’ collective success over the last two years. In Philly, he should evolve within the same role, but his production and trust should be upped.

The first and foremost attribute to Melton’s game that make him such a perfect fit is his shooting. Last year, he attempted 10.7 threes per 100 possessions and he hit them at an impressive rate, courtesy of his textbook form: 37.4% overall, 40.6% on catch & shoot and 50% from the corners. Considering the volume and the efficiency, it’s clear that Melton will be the Sixers’ best spot up shooter around Embiid and Harden.

When we look at the roster since Simmons’ departure, we can see that the Sixers’ most blatant weakness is their point-of-attack defense. In that regard, Melton is one of the most underrated defenders of our league! Excellent steal and block-rate, solid quickness and superb rebounding presence for his size, our new pick-up is a really good perimeter defender who (additionally) possesses some the best off-ball aptitudes at his spot. Furthermore, the Sixers aren’t completely set on the wings, and in spite of his 6’3’’ frame, Melton could fill this role at times because of his length and intelligence.

Next to either Harden or Maxey, you will hardly find a more perfect fit on both ends to settle the backcourt. He is young and it’s justified to think he’ll continue to develop as an even more well-rounded player as he ended the regular season with a 12 games-span where he averaged 17.2 points per game.

To sum it up, the words that would ideally describe Melton’s skillset and impact is complete and constant versatility.

“Mr. Do Everything” understands the game well enough to run a few pick-and-rolls when needed, but he will also spot up or come off screens to materialize his shooting threat and attack close-outs. Defensively, he can pest opposing guards on the perimeter and constantly disrupt passing-lanes, though he will also rotate perfectly on time to deter open shots at the rim.

Melton is under a profitable contract for the next two seasons. He’s probably the most underrated acquisition in the entire league this year, considering his actual value, the exquisite fit and the bargain this deal indeed was. He’s ready, he’s excited to play here and he’s exactly the type of at-the-first-glance-marginal addition that will pay dividends in the playoffs, where he will have a determining role.

In the end, acquiring De’Anthony Melton looks more like a common, but nevertheless extremely significant Daryl W.


Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

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