TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 21: Fab Melo #13 of the Boston Celtics poses for a portrait during the 2012 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 21, 2012 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
I was not a fan of Fab Melo leading up to the draft based on some red flags and his lack of developed talent. So I wasn't happy with the Celtics selection of him over a couple of other guys that I was interested in. However, now he's a Celtic and I'm now rooting for him with all my heart. So this post is my attempt to spin this in the best possible light. After all, it is the offseason and it is the perfect time to be excited about a project rookie. So here goes.
This guy is a legit seven footer. That's a great place to start. And he's not one of these big guys that thinks he's a guard or 3 point shooter or something. He lives in the paint and loves it there. He also loves rejecting anyone coming into the paint. In fact, that's his specialty and he excels at it, despite being just a few years into playing the game.
As of now, the Celtics have a good amount of legends and several guys that are multi-talented (or plug-n-play as wjsy described). But there's room on the roster for specialists. If the Celtics want to disrupt an opponent's presence in the paint, he can roll out a lineup with Kevin Garnett and Fab Melo. I'm guessing you'd see a few blocks and then a lot of jumpshots after that.
At least from the start of the season Melo will have plenty of time to watch and learn from the aforementioned KG. In fact, there probably ins't more ideal mentor for Fab. They even have a shared passion for soccer that they can bond over. He's described as an eager learner, so he meets KG's instructional prerequisite already.
Should the need arise for him to fill in, I feel pretty safe in saying that he's likely an upgrade over the unpredictable Ryan Hollins. He won't need the ball in his hand and he can focus on playing defense within the Celtics system. In fact, a weak side shot blocker is something I've felt this defense was lacking for a while.
Also, I'm looking forward to getting a taste of Fab's personality. Sounds like he's an amusing guy, and not just for breaking chairs.
An NBA.com poll of 39 NBA rookies released Thursday named Melo the league's funniest first-year player. The 7-footer earned 22.9 percent of the vote. Players weren't allowed to vote for themselves, their NBA teammates or their college teammates.
Finally, regardless of what happens this year, the Celtics now own the rights to a guy who has raw talent and legit center size. That's simply an opportunity the team couldn't pass up. In a year or two he might be our starting center and defensive anchor.
So I've had my concerns and doubts, but now that he's a Celtic I'm looking forward to watching Melo develop and grow. Besides, how could I not love a guy with a name like Fab Melo. Headline puns and wordplay options abound!