De’Anthony Melton Takes Home Unique Award in Sixers Home Debut

De’Anthony Melton of the Sixers

Getty De'Anthony Melton of the Philadelphia 76ers.

This offseason was filled with turnover for the Philadelphia 76ers. Daryl Morey and the rest of the front office have attempted to create the ideal supporting cast to elevate the Sixers’ roster to true championship contenders.

One of the players expected to play a major role this season is De’Anthony Melton, who is already taking home some special hardware.

Melton, a springy guard whom the Sixers acquired via trade on draft night, earned the “Big Energy Chain” for his performance October 5 in a 113-112 home win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Philadelphia’s second of four preseason games. The former Grizzlies standout ended with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in his 15 minutes of play.


What Is the Big Energy Chain?

Melton is the season’s first recipient of the Big Energy Chain, a team award that was originated during the 2020-21 season by Doc Rivers and Sixers strength and conditioning coach Ben Kenyon. Joel Embiid was most notably seen wearing it on the bench while sitting out a game in May 2021.

“The Big Energy Chain is a symbol of work ethic,” the Sixers’ Matisse Thybulle said, according to a March 2021 NBA.com story by Lauren Rosen. The award is given to players who put in extra work in the weight room after games. What started as postgame shoot-arounds “pivoted to postgame parties in the weight room,” complete with a festive atmosphere and loud music. Kenyon is the master of ceremonies, according to Rosen’s story.

The Sixers’ Isaiah Joe told Rosen for the story: “We’re in the weight room, and all the guys are in there. We’re bonding, we’re lifting, we’re cheering each other on during the process. It makes it fun just to be in there. Seeing everybody in there makes you want to do even better.”

When asked by Heavy’s Mike Greger about his debut at the Wells Fargo Center, Melton first joked about how happy he was to be given the chain before saying, “It was great coming out here and seeing all the fans. Them cheering. I know they’re really passionate out here, so I just wanted to come out here, play hard and play together.”


Melton’s Role on the Sixers

While rotations should not be read into too deeply in the preseason, it is clear Melton will be a key part of the Sixers bench unit. Last season in Memphis, he averaged 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals in his 22.7 minutes per game. Melton also shot 37.4% on three-pointers while attempting 5.1 per game.

His two-way ability is a welcomed addition to a Sixers bench that has been lacking these types of players. Melton showed the madness that he can bring to the court in this matchup. His defensive instincts are clearly impressive and he created havoc for the Cavs in a way that went beyond the stat sheet. Through his 32 minutes of preseason play, Melton has already tallied four steals and two blocks.

The competition for bench minutes is deeper than ever on the Sixers. However, Melton’s athleticism and overall well-rounded play make him a clean fit within the rotation. He likely will be used by rotating in along with Maxey and Harden for the other guard role. However, if Thybulle continues to struggle with his shot Melton could also slide into his role. While Melton does not have as eye-popping of defensive abilities as Thybulle, his balanced play more than makes up for this deficit. Regardless of how it shakes out, the early signs coming out of the Sixers surrounding Melton and the rest of the team have been extremely positive.

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