De’Anthony Melton Shows Promise amidst Suns losing streak

The Suns are on an eight game losing streak, they are playing with a first-year head coach and a depleted roster that features two rookie second round picks at the point guard position; nothing is bright in the valley of the sun at the moment.

After having the two worst starts to a game in modern NBA history, the Suns showed some fight to start the game on Friday night against the Miami Heat, that is they at least scored more than 10 points in the opening quarter

A lineup without their two leading scorers in Devin Booker and TJ Warren was expected to struggle; however, the lack of effort has turned off a desperate fan-base and has reportedly created tension within the locker room.

Changes were coming in some form, on Friday night a key change was made, head coach Igor Kokoskov elected to start rookie point guard De’Anthony Melton. The combo guard out of USC provided a much needed spark.

The key for this young Suns group is to play hard, play fast, and to show some fight on a nightly basis. Melton may not be the best option but he checks all three boxes.

“I just wanted to go out there and give my energy, and whatever happens, happens”, Melton said after a home loss against the Kings.

This is a sequence that illustrates how Melton’s high energy can impact the game on both ends of the floor.

Offensively, Melton has shown the ability to keep defenders on his hip out PnR and make the patient read. This is a clip against the Sacramento Kings where he is able to keep Williams on his hip and shows the ability to make the floater.

Keeping defenders on your hip is a key skill when playing the point guard position at the NBA level. This is another clip against the Heat where Melton is able to keep Wade on his hip but this time he makes the right read with the simple bounce pass.

Overall, Melton should be a solid option when running PnR with this young Suns group. He makes the right reads and has ability to knock down mid-range jump-shots. In this clip, the defender goes under the screen, forcing Melton to make the jumper and he makes them pay.

Compared to fellow rookie point guard Elie Okobo, Melton has shown the ability to make better reads out of PnR.

This is an action the Suns run out of their Chin series where they set a cross-screen into a back-screen on the opposing big trying to get the lob. Wade does a good job containing the action and the Suns have to resort to basic PnR action where Okobo misses Holmes open for the dunk after the Heat trap Okobo.

The Suns ran this set with Booker against the Lakers and you can see how the details of a set can make a difference.

As a second round pick Melton still has a ways to go to prove himself as a quality player in the NBA. With the Suns having no other option at the point guard position, this is going to be the most important stretch for Melton in his career.

If Melton can continue this level of play for the rest of the season, making an impact on the defensive end and doing the little things right I think he can establish himself as a solid backup point guard for the Suns as they build for the future.

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