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Memphis Grizzlies 2019-20 Player Previews: De’Anthony Melton

Not a lot of hype surrounding De’Anthony Melton entering his second season... Which is good for a young talent like talent like Melton trying to find his identity in the NBA.

Utah Jazz v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

He isn’t the most explosive guy, not the most talented guy, and he isn’t going to average over 20 points per game, but De’Anthony Melton is the perfect ‘swiss army knife’ guy on this Grizzlies young roster.

On Monday, the Memphis Grizzlies had their Media Day that basically gave us first looks at several of the team’s new acquisitions from this offseason. Melton overall had a quiet session, but had one sound bite that Grizzly fans should be excited about.

The NBA is in such an offensive renaissance that a 20 year old kid like Melton is hard to come by, and reaching out to former Grizzlies legend Tony Allen would help Melton build on that defensive identity he showed in year one.

2018-19 Overview:

Washington Wizards v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

In his first season in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Melton only appeared in 50 games and started 31 of them. Of course, that Suns team last season wasn’t great to say the least, so Melton was thrown into several roles to fill the gaps. Melton averaged 5.0 PPG, a little over three assists, and 1.2 steals per game.

Melton didn’t show a ton last season, given injuries and lack talent on that Suns roster. What Memphis is excited about is bringing in a kid that still hasn’t figured out his identity.

Projected Role:

It was projected to be a great competition on the wings this preseason between returning guard Dillon Brooks, newcomer Greyson Allen, former Sun Josh Jackson — who will start in the G-League — and Melton. With Melton projected to miss the first month of the regular season with a lower back stress injury, he will look to fight his way up in the rotation.

Given his talents - based off of last season, Melton will have an instant impact with the overall team defense. Given the talent on this Grizzlies roster right now, and on the wings - Melton is no worse than the third guy in the rotation. Standing at 6’4” with that crazy 6’8” wingspan, he can cause headaches for offensive players.

2019-20 Best Case Scenario:

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 3 Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images

The first step for Melton is recovering fully from that lower back injury. No one can predict the future, but you can’t help but be optimistic about Melton and his potential in Beale Street Blue. The best case scenario for Melton will be getting regular rotation minutes by Christmas. Why Christmas you ask?

Melton returning to full strength is the first step in the process in a long NBA season. Best case scenario, Melton could potentially become the best wing defender on this young roster.

Another best case scenario for Melton on the offensive end will be averaging around nine points per game. Having guards like Ja Morant and Tyus Jones will take Melton out of those situations he was in with the Suns. Melton was forced to initiate the offense, and that’s not who he is. Melton is a catch and shoot guy, and Jones and Morant will boost his offensive game.

2019-20 Worst Case Scenario:

With Melton, starting a season with an injury isn’t great at all. We saw two years ago with Ben McLemore who started the season injured, and then was noticeably behind everyone on the floor. Worse case scenario for Melton is that he doesn’t catch up to everyone on the offensive end, but his defense is something that should change, because he is naturally good at it.

Overall Expectations:

Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Honestly there aren’t a lot of expectations around Melton this season. When traded for, Melton and his counterpart Josh Jackson were labeled as “one year rentals,” but Melton’s ceiling is bigger than one year. Expectation should be a guy that does a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor.

Cleaning up offensive possessions, and taking care of his opponent on the defensive end of the floor should be enough for Memphis, and if there is Melton does anymore, the Grizzlies should be excited.

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