Stats: 27.0 minutes, 8.3 points, 3.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals per game, 43.7 FG%, 28.4 3PT%, 70.6 FT%
DraftExpress Rank: 25
De’Anthony Melton is a bit of a unique case because he was suspended indefinitely from USC after his freshman year due to charges of fraud and corruption against USC’s assistant coach Tony Bland along with the FBI probe.
However, he announced that he’ll be participating in the 2018 draft. He had a big impact on defense during his time at USC and has a knack for getting the ball to the right player at the right time.
Passing – Melton has an eye for getting players the ball. When he’s in a pick and roll, he’ll find the best passing lane for the open guy. When he’s on the court, you can tell that he’s a player with a high basketball IQ. Plus, he’s not going to be the first choice on offense, so if he can find the open guys on the floor, that’s a big plus for him.
Shooting – His shooting isn’t the best and could use some work as he goes into the draft. He isn’t a great three-point shooter (28.4 percent from three-point territory), but he also doesn’t take too many of those shots to begin with. However, Melton told ESPN that he’s improved his shot despite not playing during his sophomore season at USC due to the suspension.
After he was suspended, it took some time for him to get back into the gym, but once he did, he started focusing on this shooting. Despite his size, though, Melton isn’t afraid to take the ball to the hoop either. At a scrimmage for the NBA Draft Combine, he showed no hesitation when driving to the hoop or pulling up for a mid-range jumper.
Defense is where Melton will have the biggest impact. A lot of his highlights come from that end of the floor as he makes blocks and steals the ball on a regular basis. Most of his highlights come from the defensive end by making big plays. DraftExpress put together a video of some of his best plays last year and it’s worth watching.
Because of his larger wingspan, Melton is perfectly suited to frequently poke the ball away from other players. It also gives him an advantage at the hoop. He might not be all that tall, but his length makes him a threat at the rim on defense. He’ll block the ball with ease.
Melton also has a knack for anticipating where the ball is going to go and intercepting it. His value on defense is going to be high no matter what team he winds up on.
Fit with the Lakers
There’s no doubt that the Lakers need help on the defensive end of the floor. Melton is a good all-around player. He won’t be scoring the most points each night, but his impact on defense can help keep the Lakers in the game.
Even if Melton wasn’t put in a starting role right away, he could be a huge contributor off of the bench. With him on the court, it’ll be harder for teams to score. His high basketball IQ is also something that Coach Walton can work with. He’s done well with the young players on the team and Melton would fit right in.