2022 NBA Draft grades: Sixers rank among night's big winners

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Why experts love what Morey did during NBA draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Sixers entered Thursday night's NBA Draft with one late-first round pick and a number of questions about their roster construction.

They exited the night with a 24-year-old shooter in De'Anthony Melton who excels on the defensive end and already has 235 games of NBA experience while unloading $10 million worth of injured veteran in Danny Green.

Success!

RELATED: Daryl Morey touches on what's next after Melton deal

Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is likely still working on bigger moves (as the buzz running up to draft night indicated), but his ability to turn marginal assets into valuable pieces that better fit the team's current timeline is unique and special.

Which is why, when draft grades started rolling in on Friday morning, the Sixers were a team regularly mentioned as one of the champions of the draft... even though they didn't make a pick.

Let's peruse the sports internet and see what they're saying about Morey's performance Thursday night:

ESPN

"4. Which pre-draft or draft-night trade will have the biggest impact?

"Lopez: Philadelphia traded two players who were likely to have minimal impact next season -- Colorado State forward David Roddy, whom they drafted with the No. 23 pick, and Danny Green, who suffered a torn ACL in the 2022 playoffs -- for someone who can make an immediate contribution next season in De'Anthony Melton. The 24-year-old Melton averaged 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds last season in Memphis, both career highs, as he found more minutes playing off the ball with the Grizzlies.

"Bontemps: I'll go with Philadelphia turning Danny Green and the No. 23 pick into De'Anthony Melton. Trading Green, who unfortunately is all but certain to miss the season with a knee injury, into a young, athletic wing player in Melton -- who is a perfect fit as a defender next to James Harden and Tyrese Maxey -- was a terrific piece of business by 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey."

Sporting News

"15. Philadelphia 76ers | Grade: B+

"The 76ers traded their No. 23 overall pick to the Grizzlies for reserve guard DeAnthony Melton, and that's a win for Philly. The Sixers were likely going to target a guard with the No. 23 pick and even though there were some talented guards available, no one could have the immediate impact that a defender and playmaker like Melton will."

The Athletic

"This is a great pickup for the Sixers. Green tore his ACL and LCL back in mid-May. Maybe he comes back next season or maybe he decides to call it quits after 13 years in the NBA and three championships. He was unlikely to contribute to Philadelphia this season. So they move his salary attached to the 23rd pick and end up with De’Anthony Melton.

"He’ll fit nicely next to James Harden. He’ll fit nicely next to Tyrese Maxey. And you can even play him with both guys on the floor at the same time. The odds of the Sixers getting a ready-made player at 23 in this draft were very low. That’s how you execute.

"Grade: A-plus"

CBS Sports

"Winner: Philadelphia

"Philadelphia needs to win now, and after offering Danny Green and the No. 23 pick to almost every team in the league in exchange for veteran help, they ultimately landed on De'Anthony Melton. The 76ers couldn't have asked for a better package. 

"Melton, just 24, has shot just below 39 percent from behind the arc over the past two seasons. He was already a very strong point-of-attack defender who racks up steals and blocks like few guards in the game. Now he goes to a Philadelphia team that needs him after playing only 22.7 minutes per game next season. Expect that figure to rise."

Those are some rave reviews!

I think those evaluations are all right on point. Melton isn't a household name like Eric Gordon or P.J. Tucker, two players the Sixers were connected to before Thursday night, but he's arguably more enticing than either: a young, solid two-way player with two years of team control and the perfect skillset to pair with a Joel Embiid-James Harden star duo? It's not an Earth-shattering move from Morey, but it's absolutely a great one.

Also, for what it's worth Melton seems pretty excited to be here:

If he does his job, the California native has fan favorite written all over him. Great stuff.