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Why De’Anthony Melton is good Warriors addition after Klay Thompson loss – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

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Why De’Anthony Melton is good Warriors addition after Klay Thompson loss – NBC Sports Bay Area & California


With Klay Thompson moving to another team, the Warriors knew they had to replace much of what he had provided. Or, more accurately, what made him the practically perfect sidekick for Stephen Curry.

Golden State’s priority was adding a point-of-attack defender capable of filling one of the roles Thompson furnished before sustaining a torn ACL in one leg and a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in the other.

Thompson’s defense in his prime gave Curry the freedom that resulted in back-to-back MVP awards. The Warriors want, need, to regain that.

Enter free-agent guard De’Anthony Melton. He’s not flashy and he won’t be the shooter Klay is, but his defense is elite. That makes it worth paying him the $12.9 million nontaxpayer midlevel exception both sides agreed to on Monday.

Melton, 26, is that rare young player who is effective but has remained mostly under the radar, partly because he has played for three different teams.

The Warriors, like the rest of the NBA and those who live and breathe it, realize his value as one of the league’s top perimeter defenders.

Melton is, like former Golden State star Andre Iguodala, one of those guys who rarely produces a dazzling stat line but often makes winning plays. He’s shooting 36.9 percent from deep over his six-year career. Moreover, he’s a terrific defender – on ball or off – who will get steals, grab rebounds and pile up more “hockey” assists than official dimes. 

At 6-foot-2, with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, Melton’s physical dimensions virtually match those of Gary Payton II, whom the Warriors love but has battled injuries in each of the last two seasons.

Melton, too, has dealt with injuries, most recently back issues that limited him to 38 games (33 starts) with the Philadelphia 76ers last season.

Before coming out of the lineup last season, Melton was part of a Philadelphia starting lineup – along with Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Nic Batum and Tyrese Maxey – that posted the best net rating (plus 34.0) in the NBA.

The 76ers were 21-9 with Melton in the lineup before his back sent him to the sidelines. They were 26-26 over the final 52 games, most of which were missed by Embiid and Melton.

Melton flourished as the Sixth Man on the 2021-22 Memphis Grizzlies team that finished with the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. He averaged 10.8 points per game (40.4 from the field, but 37.4 from deep), with 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals.

The key with Melton is his health. If he had stayed healthy last season, he could have commanded an annual salary exceeding $20 million.

Though the Warriors are out of the luxury tax and still are assembling their roster, Melton projects as someone who could be in the starting lineup.

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