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#22: Fab Melo
Posted By Alex Raskin On June 28, 2012 @ 10:48 pm In All,NBA Draft | No Comments
The Celtics continued to improve their frontcourt with the 22nd pick in the NBA Draft. After taking power forward Jared Sullinger with the 21st pick, president Danny Ainge went with Syracuse center Fab Melo at No. 22.
The native of Brazil is mostly famous for being declared academically ineligible right before the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse was a top seed, but fell to second-seeded Ohio State in the Elite 8. Ironically, Sullinger scored 19 points and grabbed seven boards in Melo’s absence.
Melo’s stats are difficult to interpret, given that he played in Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. He averaged just 5.8 rebounds as a sophomore and while he did block 2.9 shots per game, a lot of that came as a weakside defender. In the NBA, he’ll have to block opposing centers’ shots on the block and that’s considerably more difficult.
Offensively, Melo did hit 56.6 percent of his shots last year, but he only scored 7.8 ppg because he’s just so raw on that end of the floor.
The good news is that Melo is a seven footer with improving athleticism. As a freshman he had conditioning issues, but now he’s a svelte 255 pounds with a 31-inch vertical. He also ran the ¾-court sprint in 3.44 seconds, which is respectable for someone his size.
The Celtics have been searching for a center ever since they traded away Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder, so it’s fitting that the pick they received in that deal was used to draft Boston’s center of the future.
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