Sixers: De’Anthony Melton deserves to make All-Defensive first team

Philadelphia 76ers, De'Anthony Melton (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, De'Anthony Melton (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

There’s been plenty of attention surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid as he tries to capture his first MVP and rightfully so. However, there’s at least one other Sixers that deserves award honors and it’s not one most would think of.

I’m of course referring to De’Anthony Melton. Outside of the re-signing of James Harden, it can be easily argued that trading Danny Green and the 24th pick in the 2022 draft (aka David Roddy) for Melton was the most important off-season move for Philly.

Between filling the role as the sixth man and fifth starter, Melton has quietly put together a strong case to not only get an All-Defensive Team nod but to make the first team.

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Sixers’ guard Melton should make first-team All-Defense.

There are legitimate reasons why Melton should be able to not only make the All-Defensive team, but the first team. Let’s take a look at the stats first as that’s the easiest to quantify.

Melton’s Defensive Stats:

  • Total Steals: 125 (first in NBA)
  • Steals per game: 1.7 (fourth in NBA)
  • Steal percentage: 3.0 (second in NBA)
  • Defensive Rating: 110.7 (18th in NBA)
  • Defensive Win Shares: 3.1 (17th in NBA)
  • Defensive Box Plus/Minus: 1.7 (12th in NBA)

Those are impressive stats, and when doing a deep dive into the players ahead of him. In steals per game, the only guard ahead of him is Fred Van Vleet. In steal percentage, only Alex Caruso is ahead of him and I had both guards on my All-Defensive first team that I mention on The Sixer Sense podcast.

In terms of Defensive Rating, there is only one player ahead of him and that is Caruso again. In the Defensive Win Shares, the only guards ahead of him are Jaylen Brown and Anthony Edward, both of which can be considered forwards as well. In Defensive Box Plus/Minus, Caruso is the only pure guard player ahead of Melton.

Overall based on the stats, Melton’s one of the best defensive guards in the NBA. He’s so good it caused the Sixers’ coaching staff to start him over rising star Tyrese Maxey. However, the eye test is important in this decision as well so let’s take a look at a highlight or two.

Then there’s this as well.

It’s easy to see why the stats say he’s elite defensively. There’s little reason why Melton shouldn’t make All-Defense, especially the first team for the honor.