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Fab Melo has logged just 36 minutes of NBA action since the Celtics selected him in the first round of last summer's draft. And in the last couple months, he's been traded to the Grizzlies, released by the Grizzlies, and then signed by the Mavericks.
So why should anyone be intrigued? Well, it should be for the same reasons Boston took a shot at him with a first-round pick. Defensively, Melo has the potential to make an impact.
In 2012, he was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, after averaging 2.9 blocks in just 25 minutes per game. And that ability to protect the rim translated to Melo's time with the D-League's Maine Red Claws, where he averaged 3.1 blocks in 26 minutes.
Why He Fits: Dallas has been starved for a defensive presence inside since the departure of Tyson Chandler in 2011.
Mavs fans are hoping Samuel Dalembert can fill that role, and all indications are that he can. Dalembert is a per-minute beast on the boards and around the rim on defense. Last year in Milwaukee, he averaged 13 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes.
But he's averaged over 30 minutes a game for just two of his 11 NBA seasons and appeared in only 47 games last season. He'll need plenty of relief over the course of the year, and that is where Melo can help.
How He Can Stick: Melo will have plenty of competition in Dallas's frontcourt, where he'll be battling Brandan Wright, DeJuan Blair and Bernard James during training camp.
To give himself any chance against those three, Melo has to continue to be a pest around the rim on defense. But more importantly, he has to show that he can at least be marginally effective on offense.
A good defense-first center doesn't have to have a wide array of post moves or a great mid-range shot. But being a real threat to finish alley-oops and get a couple putbacks per game is the minimum for a real role.