Western Rival Reacts to Sixers Trading for ‘Elite’ Grizzlies Guard

LeBron James and Ja Morant

Getty LeBron James and Ja Morant

The Philadelphia 76ers added a really good player on draft night if Twitter reactions mean anything. The biggest endorsement came from Ja Morant who raced to social media to express his regret over losing D’Anthony Melton to the Sixers. His Memphis Grizzlies sent Melton to Philly in exchange for Danny Green and the No. 23 pick.

The move was met with instant applause following weeks of trade speculation. The Sixers made a deal for a player who averaged 10.8 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 37.4% from three-point land. He logged 22.7 minutes per contest last season in Memphis while backing up Morant. Those two are certainly going to miss each other.

He’s also regarded as a sound defender, a combo guard who rated among the league leaders in blocks and steals. Melton was a favorite teammate in his prior stop. And the 24-year-old is regarded as a sound defender, a combo guard who rated among the leaders in blocks and steals. Melton could be a huge piece to the Sixers’ championship puzzle.

Evan Sidery of Basketball News detailed how much the Melton-Morant relationship meant to Memphis in October 2021, calling it “pay-per-view-level entertainment” in his analysis:

Melton makes Morant’s job so much easier. He can not only take on the tougher assignment defensively to preserve Morant’s special scoring ability, but he’s more than capable of being a marksman who adequately spaces the floor at an elite level.

Since the beginning of 2019-20, Melton is shooting 44.3% on catch-and-shoot threes at above-average volume of 3.3 attempts per game. This season, Melton has upped his catch-and-shoot attempts by an extra attempt thanks to a newfound starting role next to Morant (2.8 to 3.3). He’s even added pulling up to his game, knocking down 6 of his first 8 triple tries of his own volition.

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Sixers Twitter Reacts to Melton Trade

Sixers fans are known to be very opinionated – contrary to what “Hustle” says – and their immediate reactions to draft-day trades can be brutal. Not this time.

The reactions to the Sixers acquiring Melton were mostly positive, especially from those that knew him best in Memphis. Grizzlies reporter Chris Vernon said: “Philly, you will love him.” Brevin Knight – a Grizzlies analyst for Fox Sports Southeast – said Melton would be “creating havoc” for the rest of his career and wished him well in Philly.

Meanwhile, the local beat guys in Philly seemed to like the move. The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey called Melton a “tough guy” while listing his numbers. And 97.5 The Fanatic’s Tyrone Johnson brought up the obvious: nothing to complain it here.


Daryl Morey Originally Drafted USC Star

Fun fact: Sixers president Daryl Morey originally drafted Melton in the second round of the 2018 NBA draft when he was in Houston. He played a few Summer League games for the Rockets before they traded him to Phoenix, then Melton was sent packing to Memphis in 2019.

Prior to that, Melton was a stat sheet stuffer at USC where he became the first freshman to record 300 points, 150 rebounds, 100 assists, 60 steals, and 35 blocks in his first year. He left school prior to his sophomore season.

“De’Anthony (Melton) makes winning plays and will be a great addition for Houston,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said, via the school’s website. “He can help a team in a variety of ways and will make his team and teammates better.”

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