Melo was a standout at the NCAA level on the defensive end, where he anchored Syracuse's zone defense as the primary backline defender. His length and athleticism made him a very good rim protector, despite his obvious deficiencies on the offensive end.
When the Celtics drafted him, they knew that they were taking on a project. Melo was not ready for the NBA immediately, and ended up spending much of the season in the D-League. It's important to note that although the Celtics were desperate for frontcourt depth by the end of the season, Melo never got a chance to play.
Now, the Celtics have moved on from the Fab Melo era, as they have reportedly traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Boston will acquire Donte Greene in return, a young 6-foot-11-inch forward who never ended up playing a game for Memphis. Greene, who has averaged 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his career, faces an uphill battle to make the roster on a team deep with forwards.
The writing was seemingly on the wall for Melo, who never made an impact at the NBA level for the Celtics. Boston drafted Jared Sullinger in the same year as Melo, and recently used another first-round pick on power forward Kelly Olynyk. Vitor Faverani, a young center from Brazil, was also signed to bring frontcourt depth. The Celtics clearly prefer all three of these young big man over Melo, and are right in doing so.
While shot-blockers always seem to hang around the league, it's tough to see Melo being an impact player anytime soon. He thrived at Syracuse due to a zone-defense scheme where he could provide weakside help as opposed to playing on-ball post defense. Zone defenses are rarely used in the NBA, and Melo is far from ready to adapt. Not to mention, he is a disaster offensively.
It's probably safe to say Danny Ainge would probably like to have that first-round draft pick back.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
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