Fab Melo attracted far too much attention as a rookie.
This might sound harsh, but the 23-year-old center out of Syracuse was not ready for the NBA last season, no matter how many games of eye-popping blocked shots totals he boasted in the D-League. That didn’t stop fans and reporters alike from hounding coach Doc Rivers about the possibility of bringing up Melo whenever the Celtics needed pivot depth for a game or two.
Melo’s 7-foot frame and raw talent were enough to make him an enticing player for the Celtics to draft and for everyone else to ogle.
The Celtics still have the luxury of bringing him along slowly, especially now that the need to win immediately no longer exists. Still, Melo must prove he is worth the Celtics’ patience. He is still far away from grasping basic fundamentals of NBA defense, by many accounts, and few observers expect his offensive skills to ever develop beyond adequate. The Celtics do not need Melo to become a finished product this year, but they do need him to at least make strides toward becoming that finished product.
Working in Melo’s favor — and in the Celtics’ — is that he is under team control at a relatively decent price for the next three years. The 2013-14 season will be the last guaranteed year of his deal, with two team options years to follow. His final year in 2016-17 features a $3.3 million qualifying offer, and the Celtics should have some idea as to what type of player Melo will be, or has become, by then.
Melo’s status as the Celtics’ lone big man project lasted all of one year. Now, he will be expected to develop alongside Kelly Olynyk and possibly Colton Iverson, both of whom seem more NBA-ready than he does. Is Melo worth the wait? Vote in the poll below.
To kick off the official start of the NBA offseason, NESN.com will ask fans whether they think the Celtics should keep or move on from each player. The following day, we will provide the fans’ verdict. Here is the schedule*:
Monday, July 15: Rajon Rondo (Verdict: Keep him, 67 percent)
Tuesday, July 16: Courtney Lee (Verdict: Move on, 52 percent)
Wednesday, July 17: Shavlik Randolph (Verdict: Keep him, 60 percent)
Thursday, July 18: Jeff Green (Verdict: Keep him, 92 percent)
Friday, July 19: Gerald Wallace (Verdict: Keep him, 51 percent)
Monday, July 22: Kris Humphries (Verdict: Keep him, 53 percent)
Tuesday, July 23: Keith Bogans (Verdict: Keep him, 62 percent)
Wednesday, July 24: Fab Melo
Thursday, July 25: Jared Sullinger
Friday, July 26:
Monday, July 29: MarShon Brooks
Tuesday, July 30: Jordan Crawford
Wednesday, July 31:
D.J. White Phil Pressey
Thursday, Aug. 1: Colton Iverson
Friday, Aug 2: Kelly Olynyk
*Subject to change pending any moves