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Mr. Do Something doing everything for the Sixers

The acquisition of De’Anthony Melton by the Sixers looks shrewder every day.

Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Sixers’ roster is loaded with players with great nicknames.

The Process. The Beard. The Minivan. Bball Paul.

But there might not be a better one than Mr. Do Something, the nickname of first-year Sixer De’Anthony Melton. Watching Melton play it’s apparent how he earned that title in Memphis.

As we saw in the Sixers’ near-implosion overtime win over the Lakers Friday night, the dude is freaking everywhere on the court.

“He was unbelievable,” Doc Rivers said postgame. “His shooting is elite, especially from the break — which is rare. I think it was 53 deflections that we had, but I know he had half of them. Literally he had half of our deflections in one basketball game. Joel [Embiid] and James [Harden] had a stretch. Tobias [Harris] had a stretch, but De’Anthony Melton was huge tonight for us.”

Melton had a career night Friday.

He had a feeling, but one of his teammates made sure he knew it.

“I kind of noticed,” Melton said. “Just talking with Tyrese {Maxey] … after I hit a couple, I was just talking with him. So I noticed, but I didn’t want to change how I was playing. I just kept making sure I was ready and understand, attack when I need to.”

What was Maxey’s message?

“‘Keep going. Just keep going. Stay on your shot. And if you don’t keep scoring, then I’m soft.’ (Smiles.) So I just tried to keep going.”

Melton set career marks for points (33), steals (7) and made threes (8) against L.A. It felt like any time the Lakers made inroads Melton would come up with a big deflection or momentum-shifting shot from deep.

While it was certainly an exaggerated version of it, this is the type of play Melton has provided all season long.

“That’s what he’s here for, what he gets paid for,” James Harden said. “Guard the ball extremely well, be one of our best defenders, and make the open shot. He did a little bit of everything tonight. He was really good tonight.”

Not only did Melton have the three ball going against L.A., but he followed it up by making 4 of 7 from beyond in a win Sunday against the Hornets. There is so much space created by Embiid and Harden that those looks are going to come.

And when Melton knocks them down, it creates more space for the team’s star duo — as evidenced by Embiid’s 53-point performance against Charlotte. It was Melton making the Lakers pay for doubling Embiid that might have affected the Hornets’ strategy.

“[The Lakers] kind of changed the way they were guarding me,” Embiid said Friday. “I just knew I wasn’t really going to get shots off. Every time I had the ball, I just wanted to draw two and make plays. … [Melton] can do this every night, and I always tell him he’s just got to let it fly. I feel like tonight, he just wasn’t thinking.”

Melton has been a two-way monster for the Sixers. He’s making 38.5 percent of his threes on a healthy volume (5.9 attempts per game). He’s been a deflections machine and turning opponents over (2.3 steals a game). He’s also filled in admirably as a ballhandler and playmaker (3.3 assists per game) while Harden and Tyrese Maxey nursed injuries.

Melton himself has not been 100 percent for most of the season. He’s been dealing with a back issue that’s caused him to miss two games and has kept him from getting valuable practice reps while playing for a new team.

Still, the 24-year-old has looked like an offseason steal and his gutting it out has earned him the respect of his new teammates.

“Yeah, he barely practices,” Embiid said. “I’ll take that every time if he’s going to show up in the game and do what he does every single night. He knows that I appreciate the effort, because I find myself in that same situation quite a bit. And every single chance that I can, even when I’m hurt, I want to be on the floor. To be able to do the same, even though he’s dealing with a back injury, I appreciate the effort.”

When Melton met the media postgame Friday, he had his game-worn jersey tucked into his hoodie. A nice souvenir from an unforgettable night.

Though he’s not keeping it.

“Honestly, I’m about to give it to my mom,” Melton said. “Especially on a night like this, it’s definitely going to her.”

If you’re a Sixers fan, it’s hard not to like De’Anthony Melton and everything he’s doing to help the team win.

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