The Rockets selected a steal in the second round of last night’s draft. Who is the guard out of USC?
The Houston Rockets decided not to trade up and select in the first round of last night’s NBA Draft. They did, however, take first-round talent in De’Anthony Melton as well as trading for another great player in Vincent Edwards.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said in a post-draft press conference how they an opportunity to move into the first round, but it was overall too complex to pull off in the end. The Rockets still did get two great players, though, and for that, the front office should be commended.
Many fans have never heard of De’Anthony Melton, as he took last season off for USC. Today, we’re going to go in depth, explaining his strengths and flaws. We’ll do the same for Edwards later!
De’Anthony was one of the best defenders available in the draft. He has a solid height and wingspan at 6’3 and 6’8, respectively. He will be a great defensive player in the league if nothing else.
Melton also is fantastic in transition. Whether he’s taking it to the hoop or making the right play to a teammate, he always seems to know what to do on the fast break.
He is a high-IQ player that will be fantastic playing next to James Harden and/or Chris Paul. Melton might not make an immediate impact, but he will have two future Hall of Famers to help mentor him at the guard position.
His averages don’t look fantastic, but he was also a freshman playing next to some solid players at USC. Along with 8.3 points per game, he also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists while playing around 27 minutes a night. He didn’t always start, but he always brought energy and smarts to games. If he grows into who he can be, he might be a triple-double threat on any given night.
His shooting is a strength and a flaw. While he shot a pretty bad 28.4% from deep his freshman year, he has definite room to improve. His jump shot has good form and he’ll be working with one of the best teams at developing a jumper in the league.
Here a YouTube video by Frankie Vision that shows him getting buckets at the draft combine. Check out how good his jumper looks, despite the bad numbers in college:
While Melton is a great ball handler, he might not be ready to be an NBA point guard. He could certainly play well off the ball at first, he still has raw talent. A year in Rio Grande Valley might be in his future to further develop his talent after spending some time with the Rockets in training camp.
Melton taking off a year from basketball to focus on a family issue could be a positive and negative. He has definitely been focusing on his professional career, but a year away from college competition definitely can hurt. We’ll have to see how he adapts once he comes to Houston.
The Rockets definitely got a good one in De’Anthony Melton! Be excited, Red Nation!