Would De’Anthony Melton make the mid-season All-Defensive team?

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Analyzing the 2022 season’s loopholes, GM Elton Brand and Daryl Morey made moves for more defensive-minded players. At the end of June, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired De’Anthony Melton from cross-conference rivals Memphis Grizzlies.

It allowed some depth and defensive steel in the squad. Statistically, the 76ers were 9th in the league for points allowed in 2022 and after 50+ games, they are 3rd in the league, indicating a huge jump in the defensive standings.

In reality, defense is a team effort, with big men protecting the rim and wings defending more agile stars. With the current playing style, where long and mid-range shooting happens more, wing defenders play a vital role. This is where Philly’s Melton, PJ Tucker, and guards play a huge role.

De’Anthony Melton can expect his first All-defensive team call.

At the Grizzlies, Melton performed well as the second defensive option behind Desmond Bane. Melton upped his averages in limited game time with 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals. Also, he ranked among the league’s top-15 overall on the defensive end.

De'Anthony Melton Playing defense
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

But sadly for Melton, that’s not enough to be considered for defensive team selection. Philly had Thybulle in the All-defensive second team last year, 4th overall at the guard position. Now Melton has taken a starting role on the 76ers and with more minutes under his belt, he has improved on his stat line again.

With almost half of a quarter added to his playing time, Melton again excelled on every front. But not drastically. From 10.8 to 11 points and 2.7 assists to 2.8 assists per game. But remember, his primary focus is spacing and defense, where he has shown great impact.

With regards to steals, Melton is 4th in the league and only the second guard in the top 5 list. A much-neglected part of the defense is deflections, where the defender disrupts the opposition’s offensive flow by intercepting their passing lanes. This allows the team to rest the defense and kills important seconds off the clock.

Melton remains the leader of his team with a total of 169 deflections in games played so far. He stands sixth in the league, and is the fourth guard to do so. Also out of these complex stats, the former USC Trojans star contested four shots per game at par with all other top defending guards in the league.

Melton remains a top player for the Philly team regarding defense. And while compared with other guards in the league, the elite defender continues to remain in the top 5 list. Looking at the impact of Melton on Philly – we can consider him to be part of the NBA All-defensive team for sure.