I told you guys before the draft that I don’t follow the draft and I don’t provide pre-draft coverage because I hate college basketball. The only good thing about the draft are the trades. But I don’t care to study up on any players because that would require enduring what I consider one of the cruelest of punishments – watching college basketball. Have you guys seen that Simpsons clip where Homer is watching a soccer game and two players are just passing the ball back and forth to each other repeatedly and the announcer is losing his mind? That’s college basketball, but insert Dick Vitale.
This is all to say that I never pay attention to Rockets draft picks. Not unless they are lottery picks which hasn’t happened in a long time. If its a Rockets lottery pick, of course, I’ll immediately compare the player to a future hall of famer, because making completely unreasonable comparisons is what you do with players that are picked high. But a highlight clip of Rockets rookie De’Anthony Melton happened to show up on my timeline the other day and I clicked on it. And I became intrigued enough to do some additional digging. And now I would say I am pretty damn intrigued.
The kid was effortlessly pulling up into off the dribble threes…and his scouting report says outside shooting is a weakness. That’s like, really encouraging. For those who don’t know, Melton is a 6’4 combo guard who only played one season at USC after being indefinitely suspended from the team in relation a scandal. So those scouting reports and college statistics were based on game-play from over a year ago; Melton clearly has spent the interim period working on his shot. This is a textbook Daryl Morey buy-low, high-upside pickup. Nab the guy who fell to #46 because everyone forgot about him and didn’t realize he would be working on his weaknesses. Based on the scouting reports, Melton’s strength is defense. This feels like the Kyle Lowry “get the guy whose already gritty but can’t shoot and teach him to shoot because that’s the easiest thing to learn.” Michael-Carter Williams too for that matter.
At the moment, Melton is buried behind maybe the best three-guard rotation in basketball so you can forget about him cracking the heart of the rotation anytime soon. But Houston doesn’t have a steady mop-up backup point guard, at least not ever since human victory cigar Bobby Brown was handed his severance package. And the Rockets figure to be in a ton of blowouts. Some additional reserve minutes could be there for the taking as the Rockets hopefully continue to lessen Chris Paul’s workload as he eases into year-one of a truly frightening four-year deal. Protect the investment! I honestly think, at some point in the year, it could very well come down to between whoever can actually shoot better between Carter Williams and Melton for that last spot.