This is part two in a three-part series about the Boston Celtics' three draft picks in the 2012 NBA Draft. Fab Melo is a center from Syracuse University who was drafted by Boston.
DRAFTED: No. 22 Overall, First Round, Boston Celtics.
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: Seven feet, zero inches/255 pounds.
BIRTHDAY: June 20, 1990 (Age: 22)
WINGSPAN: Seven feet, 2 1/2 inches.
NBA COMBINE RESULTS: No step vertical - 29.5. Maximum vertical - 31. Bench Press - 9. Agility - 12.13. Sprint - 3.44.
SCOUTING REPORT: Melo is a potential pick, and the Celtics have certainly taken a risk by drafting him. He has only been playing organized basketball for a few years, and that fact showed in his first year at Syracuse. Summing it up in one word: disappointing. That changed with one year under his belt, and he put on a strong showing in his second and final season with the Orange, ultimately winning the Big East Defensive Player Of The Year award. Melo is known for his shot blocking prowess, but he has a reputation for apathy and lack of conditioning. He has talent, but is a project, one that the Celtics need to complete.
COMPARISONS: At best, Brendan Haywood. At worst, Desagana Diop (from Draft Express).
KEY STATS: Melo struggled mightily in his first season at 'Cuse -- he averaged a dismal 2.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. His next season was far better, as Melo averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 boards and an impressive 2.9 blocks. Melo could have helped 'Cuse in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, but was ruled academically ineligible, sidelining him for the tourney.
CAREER HIGHS: Points - 14 vs. St. John's. Rebounds - 10 vs. Pittsburgh.
WHAT HE SAID: Quote(s) directly from Melo are provided below.
"That's right I am Celtic! It feels so good right. It's time to celebrate with my family. I will get back at y'all tomorrow." (Melo on Twitter)
For Melo, his best quality is his tenacious defensive ability. He's not afraid to get in someone's face and go for the block, almost to a fault. He was good for a goaltend every game but he also blocked 4-5 shots, so, trade-off. His worst quality is his perceived laziness. Fab is telling people that his suspensions came from poor English and academic issues, which is true, but he's leaving out that he was sighted at the campus bar during the week so often that it become commonplace. He also seems to be a little bit of a space cadet off the court. He's going to need someone to whip him into mental shape as well as physical shape.
You really have to put Melo in perspective. He's only been playing basketball for a few years. He disappointed as a freshman but he grew by leaps and bounds as a sophomore. Heading into the season, if you would have told me he'd become a dominant defensive force and the most important player on the court for Syracuse, I'd have laughed you out the door.
As for Fab, I actually think he might [be able to transition well to the NBA and Celtics system]. Let KG go to work on him in practice and behind-the-scenes and by the time Garnett leaves, I think you could have a guy capable of taking the reigns. He won't be as good as KG, not by far, but he could hold his own, especially on defense. Fab's got it in his head that he's got an outside shot but he's kidding himself. Right now he needs to be all about improving in the paint on both ends.
I can definitely see him grow into his role in the NBA and become a competent role playing center. He won't win you any scoring titles but he might be near the top of the blocks list. I'll say he's got the look of a guy who plays for 7-8 years for three teams or so.
In-game highlights from Melo's time at Syracuse can be viewed at NBA.com.
EXPECTATION: Melo isn't guaranteed a spot on the team from the start. Chance are, he'll spend some time in the NBA D-League with the Maine Red Claws -- sooner rather than later. As we've established, he is a work in progress, and hopefully he can benefit from learning from a defensive star like Kevin Garnett, should he return. If he is willing to put in the work and takes advice from the right people, he can carve out a role for himself here.