Update: Player Previews Pt. 1: Fab Melo is Waived


Update: it appears that Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has announced that Fab Melo has been waived, thus bringing my prediction that Melo will not play any minutes for the Grizzlies full circle. It’s a little curious, now, as to why they traded for him in the first place, though Andrew Millen poses some good thoughts/questions on the subject in his succinct summary of the waiving of Melo.

Today, we’re starting our series about how the individual players for next year’s team are likely to shape up, in reverse order of minutes. We’re starting with the new acquisition and fairly consummate poor performer entering his second year in the league, Fab Melo.

Melo is mostly still playing in the NBA because he’s seven feet tall, and basically any seven footer with NBA experience is seen to have value around the league. However, front offices are smart enough to recognize how small that value really is when the player has no real skills. He only played 6 games with the Celtics last season, and averaged 6 minutes per game, so it’s probably fair to say that his only real experience is in garbage time.

He only played in garbage time on a Celtics squad with literally no front court to speak of past Kevin Garnett and maybe Brandon Bass. He’s just not a good player.

So, there’s not too much to preview other than: he pretty much won’t play, ever, unless the outcome of the game is already clearly decided.

Sep 28, 2012; Waltham, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Fab Melo (13) during media day at the Celtics training facility. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

I suspect there’s hope among the franchise that Melo can grow into a useful player under the tutelage of talented big men like Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Ed Davis, even, could be a useful young role model for Melo to model himself after, given his athleticism and skill set.

However, even if the influence of all these players causes him to grow, let’s think about this for a moment: Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Kosta Koufos can easily soak up all of the minutes at C next season. Ed Davis and Tayshaun Prince can make up any holes in the PF bench minutes caused by playing ZBo at C. Then, if there’s somehow any flexibility in that lineup, Fab is going to have to compete with Jon Leuer for that playing time, and Leuer is a significantly more polished, ready player.

For Melo to somehow scrounge up those 3-4 minutes a game, he’s going to have to improve quite a bit, and very, very quickly.

Some fun/not-encouraging things about Fab Melo: he scored his first NBA points in February last year, after more than half of the year was over. He scored 7 points, total, in the entire season. If nothing else, that tells us that at this point, Melo could score about 7 points per 36 minutes, in garbage time.

That means he could average 7 points, at most against real NBA teams per 36 minutes. That’s really abysmal.

Some fun statements from the vaguely-sketchy-yet-quite-useful NBADraft.net on Melo:

"Keeps things simple with his offense, but is sometimes painfully predictable with his movesNeeds most of his shots created for himNot a great rebounder, which is concerning for his sizeWill have to show that he can play outside the paint in an NBA with a three-second rule (!!)Has a domestic violence charge and was academically ineligible for the NCAA tourney in his Sophomore yearPoor Foul Line ShooterIs still learning the game"

Basically, he’s bad at everything. But: he’s athletic and 7 feet tall and can sometimes score at the rim, even through contact occasionally! So, he’s valuable!

The truth with Melo is that he’s just not good and everyone knows that, basically. Me harping on how not-good he is isn’t doing any real good. Ultimately, the point here is that Fab Melo was traded to the Griz as a tax dodging move, and the Grizzlies are now going to see if they can shape him up to get some value out of him: he’s potentially still under contract for the next four seasons (next two seasons are team options, and the last season is barring a qualifying offer).

No one is expecting him to be good or get playing time this season, really. I suspect that the real hope is that Marc, ZBo, and everyone else can turn this raw kid with great physical tools into a real basketball player who can be used effectively. I’m always skeptical about plans like that, but we’ll see how it goes.

Fab Melo, we won’t see you next season. Hopefully, though, we will see you later.