Watching rookie point guard De’Anthony Melton flying all around the court this past week, reaching in for steals, running the offense with pitbull mentality, and flashing a big smile when he makes a big shot, you can’t help but see similarities between Melton and a former young Suns star.
Rookie De’Anthony Melton’s last five games, three of them as the starting point guard:
- 14 points (37 percent three-point shooting), 5.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.6 turnovers in 28 minutes per game with an overall plus-6 on the scoreboard when he plays for a Devin Booker-less team that’s a minus-86 in the minutes Melton didn’t play in those five games
Remember when the Suns acquired a 24-year old Eric Bledsoe from the Los Angeles Clippers for Jared Dudley and a second round pick? That was Ryan McDonough’s first and, ultimately best, transaction as the General Manager.
Bledsoe’s first year with the Suns, and first chance to be a starting point guard, was amazing. Bledsoe, a former #18 overall pick, posted:
- 17.7 points (36 percent three-point shooting), 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 3.3 turnovers per game for a Suns team that went 28-15 with him in the lineup
He played in only 43 games that year before tearing up his knee (first time with Suns, second of three season-curtailing injuries in five years), but those 43 games were a joy to watch.
That was Bledsoe’s fourth year in the league after three coming off the bench for the Clippers.
Meanwhile, Melton is quite a bit younger as a 20-year-old rookie, and a bit bigger (6’3” with a 6’8” wingspan versus Bledsoe’s 6’1” / 6’7”), and certainly doesn’t have three years coming off the bench behind Chris Paul, but the way he carries himself on the court has similarities to the Suns’ two-way star of the Jeff Hornacek era.
No they are not the same player.
But they have a similar build, the same fearless “I got this” look in their eye. Maybe it was the scene of the media scrum in front of Bledsoe’s old locker after the near-win on Monday night when Melton was the best player on the floor.
I asked Melton what NBA player or defender he most wanted to emulate, thinking he might say Patrick Beverley, but Melton said he didn’t compare himself to anyone and wanted to make his own way with his instincts and effort.
That sounded a lot like Bledsoe too.