Ranking Sixers’ 25-and-under players based on potential

Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

93. . 24 years old. Philadelphia 76ers. De'Anthony Melton. 2. player

Ranking 25-and-under Sixers — 2. De’Anthony Melton

De’Anthony Melton edges out Thybulle for the No. 2 spot for one simple reason: he can contribute on offense right now. Melton is not quite on Thybulle’s level defensively, but he’s not terribly far off either. Melton is a deflections magnet who has the length, discipline, and athleticism to devour ball-handlers at the point of attack.

The Sixers will close a lot of games with Melton over P.J. Tucker precisely because of his ability to defend elite guards. Melton will also contribute substantially on offense. He’s a bankable 3-point shooter — 36.1 percent for his career, which is higher than Thybulle, Korkmaz, and Joe. Expect him to comfortably lead the second unit in scoring. In fact, he will probably be the No. 5 scorer on the team behind the “Core Four.”

The extent of Melton’s offensive skill set has been mildly overstated by some in the fandom. He is frequently described as a combo-guard, but that’s probably misleading. He can defend guards, no doubt, but Melton’s skill set more closely resembles your traditional 3-and-D wing. He can dribble, but don’t except him to facilitate much. He’s not an efficient finisher off of drives either. Most of Melton’s buckets are going to come from spotting up or cutting to the rim.

That’s all good and well for the Sixers, who have two elite guards and the highest-usage big man in basketball. If Melton can polish his defensive reputation and continue to bury a high percentage of his 3s, he will have a long and fruitful NBA career. With the players ranked below him, there are potentially career-defining flaws on one end of the floor or another. Melton can play both ends well and he still has room to grow at 24 years old.