Originally written on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 11/20/14

With the most exciting moments of the offseason behind us, Celtics Town is counting down the Celtics’ roster from 16 to one. We’ll offer speculation on the role each player has to play, and where they’ll be in the rotation as we look towards the upcoming season. If you missed the last column in this series you can check it out here.

It’s inevitable that at some point every year I’ll have a tantrum about Doc Rivers not playing rookies, and consequently say something ridiculous like “We don’t have any bigs, playing JaJuan is our only chance!” or “Luke Harangody is just what this team needs!” I do not expect to be having any such moment regarding Fab Melo this year. I’ve seen him play and he’s not ready. And I know Ryan Hollins made the rotation last year, and I know this means I have Jason Collins ranked higher than Fab, and I know that dead last in the rotation is not where any of us like to imagine a first round pick. Fab is just not ready right now, but he will be one day.

Fab Melo is really good at one thing, blocking shots (2.9 per game last year at Syracuse). He doesn’t really rebound (5.8 RPG) and his offensive game, in addition to being virtually non-existent (7.8 PPG), can also be pretty frightening to watch at times. While Greg Stiemsma made his way into the rotation for his shot blocking talent, Melo’s is (as of now) irrelevant because he does not yet know how to defend on an NBA level. That sounded really bad, let me explain. Fab spent his college career playing in Boehiem’s 2-3 zone, and when he was forced out of that system in summer league his blocks dropped to just 1.1 per game.  He’s only been playing basketball for a few years, so while other players have at least some experience playing man-to-man, Fab doesn’t really have that foundation to fall back on. There were a number of times this summer where Fab was just a tenth of a second late on a block attempt, because he’s not sure where he’s supposed to be. As he adjusts to playing in Doc’s system defense this will get remedied, but if you put him in an NBA game today the opposing team would pick-and-roll him to death.

It’s best to think of Melo as a project. During summer league he was at his best running the defense, and now he has a great mentor in Kevin Garnett who shares his vocal style (I mean talking on defense, not unloading expletives on people). It will take some time before Fab’s pick-and-roll and isolation defense is good enough for the NBA, and while I don’t think it’ll be this season, I can’t say for sure. Fab has been billed by both himself and his coach as a hard worker (backed up by his dramatic weight loss between his freshman and sophomore years of college) and extremely coachable. With a little conditioning and a lot of KG it’s completely possible that in time Fab can be the seven-foot-Ibaka-help-defender I believe (ok, convinced myself) he can be. For now, Melo is a bit of an enigma and that’s okay. It’ll take time, but KG has forged impressive defenders out of a lot less.

You can follow Jordan on Twitter, @OffensiveG.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Pete Carroll empathizes with Belichick, Pats in Deflategate

Max Scherzer thanks Tigers with full page newspaper ad

Ray Lewis: Patriots should have asterisk for cheating

Report: Cavs players believed team lacked depth

Richard Sherman calls out Kraft, Goodell over their friendship


Brandon Jennings to miss 6-9 months with Achilles injury

Report: Josh Gordon tests positive for alcohol

Report: Yankees reject A-Rod's request for apology meeting

Jim Harbaugh has landed three recruits in 24 hours

Report: NFL tried to catch Patriots in the act

John Harbaugh: Bill Belichick is best coach of this century

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Opposing Packers celebrate Pro Bowl TD

WATCH: Sherman, Peterson hug it out at Pro Bowl

WATCH: Chris Berman is not happy at the Pro Bowl

WATCH: Hassan Whiteside blocks five shots in 7 minutes

Duke unveils 'K' hats after Coach K's 1,000th victory

Irina Shayk dumped Ronaldo over cheating rumors?

Mike Napoli almost retired because of sleep apnea

WATCH: 'Saturday Night Live' takes on Deflategate

Should Tom Izzo be worried about his Spartans?

Five potentially fatal flaws for Seahawks in the Super Bowl

WATCH: Urban, OSU students send message to Mark May

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Chris Berman isn't happy at the Pro Bowl

Brandon Jennings out 6-9 months

Josh Gordon tests positive for alcohol

Report: A-Rod's apology meeting request gets rejected

Harbaugh rapidly landing recruits

WATCH: 'SNL' spoofs Deflategate

NFL tried to catch Pats in act?

Bill Nye: Belichick didn't make sense

Is it time for Tom Izzo to worry?

Jennings suffers horrific injury

Seahawks GM: I love Lynch's act

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.