De’Anthony Melton Compares Young Sixers Star to Ja Morant

Ja Morant, Tyrese Maxey

Getty Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives past Bruno Fernando #20 of the Houston Rockets for a layup during the first quarter at Toyota Center on October 21, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

One of the more exciting moves of the Philadelphia 76ers‘ offseason was the addition of De’Anthony Melton. During this year’s draft, the Sixers flipped Danny Green and the 23rd overall pick for the 24-year-old guard. Being traded is nothing new for Melton. Daryl Morey initially drafted him during his time in charge of the Rockets but traded him to the Phoenix Suns following his time in summer league. Melton played one season with the Suns before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies where he found his home for the past three seasons. The USC product spent a great deal of time around Grizzlies’ superstar Ja Morant during their three seasons together.

During the team shootaround ahead of the Sixers’ matchup with the San Antonio Spurs tonight, Melton met with media members. He was asked how his new backcourt partner, Tyrese Maxey, stacks up against the superstar.

Melton’s Thought’s On Maxey:

It is high praise to mention Maxey in the same breath as Morant, (who already has a Rookie of the Year, All-Star appearance, and last year’s Most Improved Award on his resume) which Melton acknowledged. He pointed out that Melton and Maxey have “two different games. Tyrese is more of a 3-point shooter, hit you with middies. Ja, he gets to the paint at will, finishing and all that stuff. They’re two separate players but at the same time, they’re really similar,” per Sam DiGiovanni of CluchPoints.

Melton did note that both Morant and Maxey use their unique athletic skills to their advantage on the court stating they are- “two young, athletic, electric players that love to get up and down. [They] can score the ball…They’re both quick as lightning.” While Morant is known for his high-flying dunks and impressive ability above the rim, it is Maxey’s pace that separates him on the court.

Maxey’s Role on the Sixers

Through the opening two games of the season, Maxey has not made his presence known in the way many have hoped. The Kentucky product tallied 21 points on opening night and 15 points in the Sixers’ most recent loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The struggles of Joel Embiid and the dominance of James Harden have overshadowed Maxey both in the headlines and on the court.

The third-year guard has made his presence known in transition and his pace has been capitalized on in this area. However, he has failed to find his place in the halfcourt offense alongside the two superstars. Maxey has spent 43:11 of his 72:21 on-court minutes alongside the starting unit of Harden, Embiid, Tobias Harris, and P.J. Tucker. He has not played more than 8:10 with any other five-man unit.

It is still extremely early in the season and Maxey will surely find his stride as the season progresses. Some have theorized giving him more time playing alongside the bench unit where he can get more on-ball time and enough opportunity to create for himself.

His usage will be a storyline to keep an eye on moving forward as well as when the Sixers look to secure their first win against the San Antonio Spurs. Like Morant, Maxey will look to use his unique physical skills in route to his and the team’s success.

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