If Melo Trimble Tumbles, Philadelphia Could Find Back Court Fix

Mar 23, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) warms up during practice the day before the semifinals of the South regional of the NCAA Tournament at KFC YUM!. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) warms up during practice the day before the semifinals of the South regional of the NCAA Tournament at KFC YUM!. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports /

With a Philadelphia 76ers team eager to upgrade the backcourt, they will turn their attention to the guard position in the draft. If Melo Trimble tumbles in the draft, he would be hard to pass up.

Sometimes you see a college player on the basketball court, and whether it was the offensive or defensive play in that short but impressive audition, you immediately begin to hope for the young man to appear on your NBA team after the draft. Perhaps your team doesn’t pick high enough to have the option, perhaps his projected slot is far lower than a point your team will select from. But regardless of the situation, your mind and heart agree on something in a way you can’t quite put your finger on. Some impression of a young man having fun while simultaneously demonstrating his ability to oppose his will upon his opponent resonates to the point you ignore any conflicting data, and fixate on that player on your team.

He’s been a solid contributor this season for the University of Maryland Terrapins (my beloved alma mater).   At 6′ 3″, he’s not quite Ben Simmons tall, but he’s certainly one of the larger point guards available in this draft.  His season so far has brought (per Sport Illustrated on March 23, 2016)  14.8 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, 5.0 assists per game, and a shooting accuracy of 41.4% .   At 21 years of age, he is at a great spot to enter the NBA – young enough to have plenty of years for a long and full career, but old enough where life has begun to fall into place, and maturity has begun to settle in.

While his production has plateaued at Maryland, Trimble has always saved his best game for the best competition.  In the NCAA tournament against Hawaii, Trimble stepped up with 24 points and 8 rebounds.

He may not be the top point guard prospect in the NBA draft this season, but as far as point guards, his name deserves to be in the discussion.   He has already caught the attention of someone who is very familiar with the NBA guard position.  Golden State Warrior recently weighed in on the Maryland Terrapin.

"“He’s well on his way, just seeing his skill set he has. He’s great in the pick and roll. He’s a great leader. He manages the game pretty well. The biggest thing adjusting to the NBA is just with the jump shot. Making it the most consistent you can make it. As a point guard, it’s kind of the trend and the new direction that it’s going. You have to be able to — [Trimble] obviously can score the ball — but be able to shoot from all over the court while being a playmaker. Trimble is not afraid to make big plays. Very similar to how I was back in college.” – Stephen Curry as interviewed by Keely Diven, CSN"

Will Trimble be scooped up before the Sixers have a chance at him with the Miami Heat pick, currently slotted at the 24th pick of the draft? In some mock drafts, he is gone long before the Sixers return late in the round, while in other mocks, he survives until the second round.

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The Philadelphia 76ers must use extreme caution of which prospects they select going forward. The team is developing personnel and scheme on the fly. While some variables will remain a mystery until the team can actually play together as a team and the coaching staff can observe the friction points, some elements are already on the shopping list in bold lettering. The team needs perimeter shooting, the team needs better ball control and movement, the team needs back court players who can create their own shots, and the team needs to ramp up defensively.

Trimble brings perimeter shooting and can create his own shots. Against Hawaii, the Terrapins missed their first five attempts at a three-pointer. In the second half, Trimble found himself alone at the arc and drained the first three pointer of the night for the Terps. That shot seemed to break the tension, and Maryland went on to win that game.

But it’s not the limelight that is the motivation for Trimble, but his team play:

"“That’s part of me showcasing my all-around game,” Trimble said. “I’m not just known as a scorer anymore. I’m a complete point guard. I like to get my teammates involved. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the win.”"

His play has truly upgraded this season in the other two areas – ball movement and defense.  He has a gift of scoring and of hitting on a wide range of offensive moves.  But he sounds like an NBA guard, and he feels like an NBA guard.   I may be the only person who picks up on that , but I doubt it.

Next: Jahlil Okafor's Surgery A Success

One advantage the Philadelphia 76ers have this season is the fact that while this draft class is a weaker class than projections for next year’s class, it is a draft class for backcourt talent.  Or, in the words of Philadelphia 76er executive Jerry Colangelo , “this is a small ball draft class”.   With that, there may be other prospects who are drafted ahead of Melo Trimble.  But if he is on the board late in the first round, you can bet who I’ll be cheering for as the 76ers pick.