By: Kylan Watson
After a disappointing end to a dramatic 2021-2022 NBA season. The Philadelphia 76ers have been pursuing ways to improve the team at the margins to become a championship contender in the loaded Eastern Conference. Philly took a step towards that goal after trading guard/forward Danny Green and the 23rd pick in yesterday’s NBA Draft for Grizzlies utility guard De’Anthony Melton. He could be the two-way scorer that the Sixers have been missing off the bench.
Melton immediately becomes one of the best bench options Philly has had during the Joel Embiid era. He is a six-foot three-inch guard who can hit 37.4% of his three-pointers and can create his own shot and make smart decisions with the basketball. Three skills the Sixers severely lacked when it came to the non-Embiid bench minutes during the regular and post-season. Melton can play alongside James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. He can also sub-in for either one to keep both fresh heading into the post-season. He was also a key piece in helping to keep the Memphis Grizzlies afloat when Ja Morant went down with multiple injuries.
One thing that the Sixers severely lacked when it came to their bench was someone who could be a consistent scorer and either expand the lead or get Philly back in games. Melton averaged 10.8 points off the bench for the Grizzlies and at only 24-years-old. He can grow with the team and take full advantage of the wide-open opportunities he will get playing next to Embiid and Harden. This was a big and cheap acquisition for the Sixers to get. Trading potential for a rotational player who can help them right now.
Melton should be a contributor right away and play a significant role off the bench in Philadelphia. The move also signals what the Sixers may look to do with free agency approaching next week. Attempt to improve a bench unit that was one of the worst in the league. Melton adds to the scoring and defensive punch of a bench that needs all the scoring it can get. Despite the fact it cost them a possible younger player for the future. If Melton can be half the player, he was in Memphis. This will be a big acquisition for the Sixers and a step in the right direction for becoming a championship contender in the Eastern Conference.