2018-19 Season Rewind: De'Anthony Melton

End of Season Interviews: De'Anthony Melton

FINAL LINE

19.7 minutes played.

5.0 points. 3.2 assists. 2.7 rebounds.

39.1 FG%. 30.5 3P%. 75.0 FT%

1.4 steals. 0.5 blocks.

BIGGEST PERFORMANCE

De’Anthony Melton shined on the defensive end of the court as well as put his playmaking skills on display in the Suns victory against the Sacramento Kings on January 8. Melton scored 10 points with eight assists, four rebounds, four steals and two blocks in the win. 

KEY STATS 

Five different Suns rookies including Melton (Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo, Ray Spalding) had at least one game scoring 19-plus points this season. The Suns are the only NBA team over at least the last 10 seasons to have five rookies do so.

Melton (2nd, 1.36) and Mikal Bridges (1st, 1.57) ranked first and second in rookie steals per game this season. In Suns history, only Ron Lee (1.9 in 1976-77), Richard Dumas (1.8 in 1992-93), Alvan Adams (1.5 in 1975-76) and Kevin Johnson (1.5 in 1987-88) have also averaged at least 1.5 assists as rookies with the team.

The last NBA team with two rookies averaging at least 1.3 steals per game before Melton and Bridges was the 2001-02 Golden State Warriors (Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson).

When Melton is on the floor, he is recording steals more frequently than any other player in the NBA, ranking 1st with 3.3 steals per 100 possessions (min. 700 total minutes played). Among rookies to start in majority of their appearances, Melton’s 3.3 steals per 100 possessions are tied for 6th most all-time in Basketball-Reference’s database. 

GETTING ADJUSTED TO NBA

“I heard so many great things about playing in the NBA, so it’s kind of crazy just to know I finished my first season. No matter what, a lot of people haven’t even got this far. It’s an honor just to be able to say I’m ready to be a sophomore in the NBA.” 

HOW IT FELT AFTER NOT PLAYING LAST YEAR: “I felt pretty confident in myself. I worked hard all summer and I had a little extended summer. I felt confident in my game and everything I worked on. I went out there and played the game I know how to.”

WHAT HE PROVED IN ROOKIE SEASON: “That I can play with the best of the best. Some people try to say coming off the bench or starting, it really doesn’t mean anything. Looking at Jamal and just talking to him, the bench is no different from a starter.” 

JAMAL’S IMPACT ON HIM: “Huge. Talking through the whole season for me from the time he got here all the way until the end. Just knowledge.” 

HOW HE IMPROVED: “I feel I got better at playmaking and just seeing the floor, managing the game too. Coaches and players definitely talked to me about that and just what a point guard has to do." 

FEEL THE LEAGUE SLOW DOWN: “Yeah, definitely. I didn’t realize until I actually started playing more and it’s just crazy. Same pass or moves you made a week ago is different now, so you have to keep getting better.”

SUMMER PLANS

“I can’t get this haircut off my mind. I’ll probably just relax a little bit here and then probably go home back to L.A… Train, see some family and just get ready for next year.”

SPECIFIC AREA OF GAME TO FOCUS ON: “Just focus on it all. You can never say you’re too good at something. I just want to get better at every aspect of my game.”

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