NBA Draft Player Profile – Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo
7.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG 2.9 APG
NBA Draft stock: Late first round (No. 21 Boston to No. 30 Golden State)
NBA Comparison: Brendan Haywood
Fab Melo disappointed freshman season, plain and simple. The Brazilian center came out in 2011-2012 in shape and a glimpse of the highly-touted recruit he was in 2010.
He played 25 minutes a game and made a difference on the defensive end. The rebounding was a great as it could have been – under six per game – but he moved well, including taking charges, more importantly blocking shots at a rate of almost three a night.
Melo is not a great offensive player, with a well-balanced Syracuse offense, he really didn’t need to take many shots. He has an okay hook shot, but without question he’ll need to add some more offensive firepower heading into the NBA.
Defense is his strong suit and will continue to be in the NBA. Melo protects the rim and can block shots. However, this could be a product of playing Jim Boeheim’s patented 2-3 zone. In the NBA, with very rare pure post bigs, Melo can find a job being an effective defensive presence on the block.
Melo comes with baggage. He was out of shape in 2010-2011 and was suspended multiple times in his sophomore season. He could slip in the draft, likely the end of the first round. It will be hard to see a defensive-minded 7-footer fall into the second round, especially teams with several picks in the first round and teams in need of height.
Boston has two picks and with Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, and Jermaine O’Neal either gone or heading to free agency, could use some size. The Celtics also hold two picks and might gamble on Melo.
Cleveland (No. 24) and Golden State (No. 30) both have two picks in the first round and take a shot on Melo in the late half of the first round. Indiana has Roy Hibbert as a restricted free agent, and Jeff Foster retired last season, so a spot for a center could be open for the Pacers.
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