It’s quite possible that some of you have not heard much about De’Anthony Melton, who was acquired last night as part of a larger trade with much bigger names in it.
However, it’s quite possible that the 19 year old Melton becomes the best player in that trade one day.
Here’s a pre-college prospect review on ESPN from way back in 2016:
After that, he played one year in college and showed pretty much exactly that profile at USC. Does a little of everything, couldn’t shoot well, but basically earned enough respect to be considered a potential first round pick.
Then the college basketball scandal hit. One of his relatives apparently took a few bucks from an “agent” and USC suspended him for the year. That happened to a lot of prospects, though not Deandre Ayton. The accusations against Melton’s family were hardly different than against Ayton’s people. But Melton missed his sophomore college season anyway.
Enter the draft.
ESPN’s Mike Shmitz liked Melton a lot in a write-up this past spring on Melton’s chances in the draft.
The profile has not changed much, but he did show in predraft workouts that he could make a few more jumpers than he used to. But he hadn’t shown anything in game action because of the suspension.
Here’s some of Schmitz’ article from the spring.
Still, scouts and draftniks didn’t know what to do. Some had Melton going mid to late second round while some others put him in the second round.
Many said he had lottery talent, but didn’t believe any NBA teams would risk the pick that high.
Here’s how Melton ranked going into the draft:
- #13 on Evan’s Big Board for Bright Side (Mikal Bridges #9, Elie Okobo #28)
- #23 on The Ringer’s draft guide (Bridges #10, Okobo #21)
- #36 on NBADraft.net’s final mock draft (Bridges #10, Okobo #23)
- #33 on ESPNs final Top 100, independent of rumors and team needs (Bridges #14, Okobo #20)
- #27 on ESPNs final MOCK draft, totally dependent on rumors and team needs (Bridges #10, Okobo #23)
He was finally taken #46 overall by the Houston Rockets and many outlets gave the Rockets nice draft grades because of the Melton pick (here’s one).
He did very well in Summer League. SB Nation ranked Melton as one of the nine most impressive rookies in SL.
He made a lot of shots and generally showed advanced skills across the board. In one of his games, he scored 26 points, dished 5 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds.
When Melton was traded to the Suns last night, several people commented that the most interesting player in the trade was Melton.
Love the De'Anthony Melton addition for Phoenix. He can fit alongside Devin Booker nicely because of his defensive versatility and ability to play on or off the ball. Suns have a couple young, low cost guards with potential in Melton and Elie Okobo. https://t.co/F2cJ7mex6l— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) August 31, 2018
Summary on Melton
Melton is a combo guard who makes all the right plays, dominates defensively and through constant effort, but can’t shoot well, is not creative offensively and doesn’t have a great ball handling or passing skill set.
He could be a Patrick Beverly type if he can figure out how to make 40% of his threes.
Or, he could be a Shaq Harrison type who’s ceiling in the NBA is “glue guy every team wants but can’t start”.
Will Melton be a young star slotted next to Booker as s defensive bookend with Josh Jackson and Trevor Ariza to protect Booker?
Or will he even be as good as Shaquille Harrison is right now?
Basically, Melton has the profile of Harrison right now. Current skill levels barely at or above G-League levels, but potential to dominate defensively while making the right play at the right time.
Does Melton knock Harrison or rookie Elie Okobo off the team?
Unlikely. Harrison is a known quantity, and Okobo is a different kind of point guard. Okobo scores and distributes and needs to mature, but could eventually be a really good point guard. Melton will always be a combo guard. All have room this season in Phoenix.
Who starts at point guard?
Well, if the Suns plan to start Harrison or Melton or even make Devin Booker the full time point guard, they won’t win many games. They just won’t.
The Suns have to find a different starter at point guard.