It’s nearly draft day when the Los Angeles Lakers will have the opportunity to add to their young, up-and-coming roster. With the 25th overall pick in the NBA Draft, they will have a number of options to consider, but finding a backup point guard has to be high on their list of priorities. With that being the case, USC guard De’Anthony Melton’s workout on Friday drew particular interest.
Melton, who is finishing his sophomore year at USC, didn’t play last season due to an FBI investigation. However, in an interview posted to the Lakers’ Twitter account, he explained how he put his lost season to good use.
“As soon as I got my decision that I was ineligible, I kind of was just preparing my game for the NBA.”
Melton is known as a defensive bulldog, something the Lakers could sorely use. He has a 6’8″ wingspan, which allows him to disrupt passing lanes and block shots. In his lone season at USC, he snatched 1.9 steals per game while also blocking 1 shot, an impressive number for a point guard.
The big question mark, however, is Melton’s shooting. He has struggled from behind the three-point line and in the modern NBA, that can be a death sentence. In his workouts, he hoped to show the improvements that he has made in this area.
“My shooting ability, I feel like I shot the ball well. I can hit open shots and contest shots. Just like my form and everything, it looks a lot better, and my ability to play point guard too.”
Melton also detailed exactly how he tweaked his shot in order to become more efficient than he was in college.
“Just getting a lot smoother. Getting out in front of my face and widening my base. My base was too close and that accounts for a lot of misses, so I eliminate that part, get it out in front of me and it comes out smooth, my percentages goes a lot higher.”
While Melton is from Southern California, he doesn’t appear to be set on landing with the Lakers or Clippers. Instead, he is focused on finding the right fit, which can be critical to a player’s long-term success.
“I think whatever team is the right team for me. That’s all I care about. I think that’s all that matter is going to the right team. The team that falls in love with me is the organization that I want to go to. The one that admires what I do and sees me being a valuable asset to them.”
That said, Melton’s style of play, shooting aside, would appear to be a natural fit for the Lakers. He’s an excellent rebounder for a guard and loves to get out in transition. Last season, the Lakers were able to ignite their fast break when guards like Lonzo Ball or Josh Hart would grab defensive rebounds and then push the ball up the floor, something Melton would excel at.
“I think I can fit in real well with the way they like to get out in transition and run. I think I can bring more defense to the team. And the way that I can play fast, downhill, and just keep the other team on their toes. That’s the way I like to play.”
Melton mentioned that he has been through 11 different pre-draft workouts, which can be exhausting with travel factored in, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.
“It feels like it’s so close but yet so far. It’s been a long process and I know it’s Thursday, it’s right there, but it doesn’t stop there. I gotta keep working and just living the dream even more.”
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