Fab Melo, Syracuse's former center, comes into the NBA with a reputation as a big, strong defender and rebounder. He improved dramatically from his freshman season and scouts love his chances to hold his own as a defensive standout in the NBA. But he lacks any kind of offensive game whatsoever, which limits his professional upside.
What Melo Brings to the Team
Melo will bring size, defense, length, toughness and rebounding to the NBA. He was a huge part of Syracuse's success this past season because he clogged the paint and stopped many opponents from consistently scoring inside. Melo's presence was sorely missed in the NCAA Tournament, where Syracuse lost him to a suspension and bowed out earlier than expected.
Nonetheless, Melo is an imperfect NBA player because he lacks any real offensive game or skills. He has no low post offensive game, can't shoot anything other than a dunk, disappears for long stretches and has a poor basketball IQ. So, while he does not look like a superstar and impresses on only one end of the floor, Melo definitely has a defined role in the NBA and can thrive as a defensive standout.
What the Experts Are Saying
NBA scouts are big fans of Melo's defense, rebounding, and length; he looks like a star NBA big man. However, they are very concerned about his conditioning and basketball IQ, which could limit his improvement in the pros, and are very wary of his lack of any real offensive skills. According to Chad Ford, ESPN's chief draft evaluator:
He shows a solid touch around the basket and he can hit the 18-footer pretty regularly as well. He's going to be a big-time project for whoever takes him, and there will always be concerns about his dedication and motivation..
So, scouts like Melo as an NBA contributor, but few buy him as a future star.
Melo will make an impact from day one on those skills alone, earning quality backup minutes because of his ability to clog the paint defensively and prevent second scoring attempts. He won't start because he cannot play a lick of offense, but there are always minutes for a seven footer with strong defensive instincts and rebounding ability.
There's no denying the Boston Celtics have glaring holes, which affected their run against the Miami Heat and may be even more severe should one or more of their veteran players retire or go to another team. However, Fab Melo has the potential to make an immediate impact for the Celtics.
The big man corrals rebounds with authority and has an excellent sense of timing on the defensive end. But for a guy who is 7’0 tall, Melo needs to develop a consistent offensive game. He relies too much on innate talent, which simply won’t cut it at the next level. There’s no denying that he makes a huge impact on the defensive front, but the offensive portion of his game is glaring void at this point.