Boston Celtics: 3 Reasons Fab Melo Will Outshine Jared Sullinger
Don't sleep on the second of those two first-rounders though. Fab Melo can ball.
Melo, the 7'0", 273 lb. monster out of Syracuse by way of Brazil, fills some huge needs for the C's, beginning and ending with his size and ability to play in the paint.
In fact, there are some scenarios that may indicate Melo having an even better impact as a rookie than Sullinger.
The two possess far different skill sets, but what Melo brings to the table in terms of what the Celtics have been lacking in over the past couple years gives him the chance to potentially eclipse his fellow first-rounder.
Here's a look at a sample size.
In case you missed it on the first page, here are Melo's measurements one more time: 7'0", 273 lbs.
You can't teach size which is lucky for Melo, who has it in spades.
Sullinger is a big boy too, coming in at a hearty 6'9", 265 lbs. But there's no way he'll be able to use that size in the ways Melo will.
Rebounding, blocking shots, clogging lanes, intimidating and protecting the rim will all be elements of Melo's job description from day one. In fact, they already are, as Melo opened up his Celtics career in a summer league win over Oklahoma City on Monday in which he registered a couple of blocks.
The Celtics drafted Melo for his size. It should wind up one of his biggest strengths.
No pun intended.
Think about what it was like for the Celtics last season without Kevin Garnett on the floor.
Once KG shifted to the 5, his primary backups were Ryan Hollins and Greg Stiemsma. Let's just say, there was a precipitous drop-off from the starter to the reserves.
This represents another primary reason why the Celtics took Melo with the No. 22 pick in the draft. He was known as a defensive maven at Syracuse, winning this past season's Defensive Player of the Year award in the Big East.
There's been some commentary regarding how Melo's skills on D translate into the NBA, and it appears the jury is out on that topic.
But if a guy is great at something at one level, chances are he'll be at least good at it when he reaches the next one. When that same guy has Garnett as a personal tutor, those chances increase.
It may take him a year or two, but Melo will be a good, skilled NBA defender. Count on it.
By now, Sullinger's back issues are pretty much common knowledge among everyone on the planet.
There's no telling whether Sullinger will hold up for an entire season, and if he winds up having to miss any significant time, Melo instantly becomes the more valuable first-round pick.
Sullinger shined in his first summer league action on Monday, scoring 20 points to go with six rebounds and earning high praise for doing it.
It was just one game though. And given all the evidence, it won't be surprising should Sullinger get hurt.
Melo has no such issues. Sure, anyone can get injured at any time. But Melo is unencumbered by any red flags or rumored chronic conditions. He's a clean slate.
Again, it's anyone's guess as to whether Sullinger will go down. But if he does, the spotlight will shine brighter on Melo.