Nicolò Melli impressive off bench in New Orleans Pelicans win over Spurs

Playing solid rotation minutes for the New Orleans Pelicans throughout the preseason, Nicolò Melli continued his impressive run against San Antonio.

The surprising run by the New Orleans Pelicans preseason has many buzzing about their potential, even extending to their bench. Proving true through his own play against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday afternoon, Nicolò Melli proved why he’s set to be a very valuable part of their second unit.

Playing in 18 minutes off the bench, Melli played an awesome, attacking style of offense, looking confident in his stroke.

With the Pelicans trailing late in the third quarter, including falling into a 17-point hole, Melli led a charge to help push the team to an eventual commanding victory.

Melli scored 14 points against a solid Spurs defense, going 5-of-10 from the field and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line. However, he was brought in by the New Orleans Pelicans to be a three-point weapon, where he proved tough today, going 3-of-6 from that range.

Spending the early and developmental portions of his career playing European basketball, the 28-year-old Melli is a 37.4% career three-point shooter. While he’s played nine seasons of basketball overseas, he was impressive from deep last season, going 38.5% from three in 36 games for Fenerbahce.

Playing mostly with the second team for the New Orleans Pelicans, Melli is finding really good interplay with Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The two first-year players look well-seasoned in the preseason and have been key factors in a few impressive exhibition victories.

Also looking impressive attacking the glass, Melli grabbed 9 rebounds against the Spurs, including 1 on the offensive glass.

Truly, it was a two-way night for the first-year player, who looked quick-footed against a paint-centric San Antonio offense. Melli proved pesky to the Spurs offense, as he blocked 2 shots and poked away 1 steal.

If the New Orleans Pelicans bench is as good as it has so far this preseason, they’re just continuing to prove why they’ll be formidable in the Western Conference this season. Melli just keeps giving his coaches reasons why he should be a central part of that unit.

Headed into the regular season in just over a week, it seems like the New Orleans Pelicans might’ve found a sneaky first-year contributor in Nicolò Melli, who few fans inside of the United States knew about for the 2019-2020 season.

Next: New Orleans Pelicans surge to late road win over Spurs

While Melli might remain unknown to the league for a little while, he’ll gain attention quickly if his impressive performances continue into the regular season. Potentially, he could help the team in the win-loss column with his impressive three-point shooting, which may eventually come in handy in a big spot.

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