Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

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Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by bobheckler on Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:42 pm


http://www.csnne.com/basketball-boston-celtics/celtics-talk/Melo-still-faces-challenges-on-road-to-N?blockID=828705&feedID=10424



Melo still faces challenges on road to NBA

February 2, 2013, 11:10 am SHARE THIS POST0 COMMENTS



BOSTON — The Fab Melo era in Boston has begun.

Hold your applause, please.

The 7-foot rookie from Syracuse University made his NBA debut on Friday as the Boston Celtics had little trouble in defeating Orlando, 97-84.

He played the final 2:38 of the game, picking up his first career steal during that time.

Melo didn't exactly wow anyone with his first NBA action on Friday, but that's OK.

He's not expected to; not now at least.

Even with the Celtics' frontcourt depth taking another blow following Jared Sullinger (lumbar disc) having season-ending back surgery on Friday, that doesn't mean fans will start to see more Melo.

"People love the young guy; love to see the young guy," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said prior to Friday's game.

That is, until they see the young guy play and he makes young guy mistakes.

"You try to give him as much as he can handle," Rivers said of Melo. "And you do try to put him in situations on the floor with Kevin (Garnett) to help him."

One of the biggest challenges for Melo from the very beginning has been learning how to effectively play man-to-man defense as opposed to playing almost exclusively in a zone which has been a staple of the Syracuse University defense under Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim.

"The (defensive) rotations; I didn't know how to defend screens, things like that; this just new for me," Melo said. "I learn this year. At Syracuse, I stay in the middle of the zone the whole time. It's a lot different from playing man-to-man."

Because Boston (23-23) is in a fight to just make the playoffs, it's unlikely that they will look to Melo much, if at all, in the next few games before they send him back to the Maine Red Claws, Boston's D-League affiliate.

"I don't see Fab getting a lot of opportunities right now," said Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "So we'll have to keep tabs on that because we want him to continue his development."

That's why the bulk of his pro career thus far has been spent with the Red Claws.

For the Red Claws, Melo has appeared in 19 games (17 starts) while averaging 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots per game.

Not surprisingly, Melo was happy to finally get on the floor in a real NBA game.

There was the usual nerves that most rookies feel in their first NBA action.

When you throw in the fact that Melo sat the first 45 minutes, it stands to reason that his performance would have left a lot to be desired.

But in grading his performance, it won't ever be about things such as points, but instead progress towards learning the NBA game to where someday he can be a guy Rivers calls on and feels confident that he can go in the game and get the job done.

"It's not a situation I want to come with Jared hurt," Melo said. "But I just have to take this opportunity.

Melo added, "I just want to go play and show some things I can do."




bob
MY NOTE: Think Melo is ready? Read his comment about how he just learned how to defend screens this year.


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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by sam on Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:24 pm

Bob,

No, I don't think he's close enough even to keep him around for emergencies. I agree that it's unfair to judge him too soon on many aspects of his performance. But I was really bothered by the fact that he reacted slowly to so many situations. He was a beat or two behind every development. Speed of reactions are not so much a function of knowledge about the team or the NBA. Either you have them or you wind up anticipating too much, going for a lot of fakes, and committing a lot of fouls.

I wish the kid the best, and maybe he can help the Celtics in the future. I appreciate the fact that he has curiosity value, and I'm not averse to be pleasantly surprised. But, at this juncture, I wouldn't want any serious part of the Celtics' remainder of this season to depend on him.

Sam

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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by hawksnestbeach on Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:20 pm

Sam, I don't think we should depend on him, but I'd like to see him get 6-8 minutes a game for a month, especially a few with KG on the floor. When you don't know what you're doing, you react slowly - usually because you're thinking too much. He may not contribute much this season, but he certainly is the right height and frame and has a history of learning quickly. Hawk

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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by worcester on Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:05 pm

I'd really like to see us get Cody Zeller in the draft. Very wishful thinking.

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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by bobheckler on Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:27 pm

hawksnestbeach wrote:Sam, I don't think we should depend on him, but I'd like to see him get 6-8 minutes a game for a month, especially a few with KG on the floor. When you don't know what you're doing, you react slowly - usually because you're thinking too much. He may not contribute much this season, but he certainly is the right height and frame and has a history of learning quickly. Hawk

Hawk,

If we were in solid playoff position and cruising I'd agree. But we're clinging to eighth.

Furthermore, I'm not convinced that 30+ mpg in Maine against comparable talent wouldn't bring him along faster. Getting your brains beat in for 6 minutes by players who are far more advanced may not be that constructive. It's like a talented but raw 2.0 tennis player going against a 4.0 tennis coach playing to win and not teach.

He just learned how to defend screens fer Pete's sake! That's stuff they teach in high school.


bob


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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by tardust on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:40 am

sam wrote:Bob,

No, I don't think he's close enough even to keep him around for emergencies. I agree that it's unfair to judge him too soon on many aspects of his performance. But I was really bothered by the fact that he reacted slowly to so many situations. He was a beat or two behind every development. Speed of reactions are not so much a function of knowledge about the team or the NBA. Either you have them or you wind up anticipating too much, going for a lot of fakes, and committing a lot of fouls.

I wish the kid the best, and maybe he can help the Celtics in the future. I appreciate the fact that he has curiosity value, and I'm not averse to be pleasantly surprised. But, at this juncture, I wouldn't want any serious part of the Celtics' remainder of this season to depend on him.

Sam

Sam, agree 100%. I was one of the ones that pretty much said what do we have to lose by playing him instead of Collins. I saw the same as you. He nearly looked uncoordinated to me. I know he can play better and under better circumstances, look better doing it. Good thing people like us don't make the decisions. Basketball

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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by hawksnestbeach on Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:12 pm

Bob, You're right; he looked bad, has a pitiful amount of experience, probably would be better off in Maine, all things being equal. But are they? We're a contender without a center. In his first year at Syracuse, Melo was awful, yet by his second, Big East Defensive POY. I don't think he'll improve as fast in the NBA, but I'd love to see a little more this month, even today. Hawk

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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by sam on Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:44 pm

Hawk,

I believe this team is in a very tenuous situation. If they can sustain or improve their current level of play even a little bit, I believe they can shock a lot of people. But I also believe that, in order to have a shot at doing that, they can't afford even a five minute hiatus in maintaining momentum. It's a definite fact that just five struggling minutes can completely change the momentum in a game, and it's documented fact that it has occurred in a two-minute span the Celtics' season.

I was happy that fans who have been lobbying for some "Melo time" got their wish in the last game. But it was a pretty good example of how little garbage time can do to help a player grow. In fact, I would submit that a string of garbage time playground mediocrity could set back the player's confidence to some degree.

If and when he should join the Celtics for real, I would hope that he would be ready to contribute sooner rather than later. Can you imagine what a team like the Heat or the Thunder or the Lakers could do to him in five "prime time" minutes? This entire board might be on suicide watch.

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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by worcester on Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:16 am

OK. Lobster is also a good source of calcium.

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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by bobheckler on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:50 am

Here's some video of Fab and Pierce having fun with some one-on-one.

Note how Melo brings the ball up from his waist. He will get stripped non-stop in the NBA doing that, just as he does the first time he tries it against Pierce (Pierce was watching him practice and saw him doing that and stripped him on the first possession). Pierce was even posting Melo up.

Not ready...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1fjvYLe1eXo



bob



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Re: Melo Still Faces Challenges on Road to NBA

Post by hawksnestbeach on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:44 pm

Sam, Bob, Nice snippet of Pierce and Melo at practice. I wish I'd seen him in his debut, but I trust your assessments that he's still very rough. I'm not saying his development is more important than winning games, just that if we're going to call on him in April, he'd better play in February.

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