It doesn’t necessarily take an insane person to speak to himself. Or maybe I’m insane.
Since last night, I’ve caught myself multiple times staring at the man in the mirror, shaking my head and muttering to nobody but myself, “Why Fab Melo? Why?” Then I slapped the man in the mirror, splashed a little bit of water on his head and started trying to talk him into the Syracuse 7-footer.
What follows is my ugly battle within, trying to convince myself that the Celtics didn’t waste their second 1st-round pick Thursday night.
He won the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award! He possesses a combination of height and athleticism which you can’t teach! He plays a position which the Celtics — with four players under contract, only one of whom is a big man (JaJuan Johnson) — badly needed to fill! It’s not impossible to envision a day when Melo becomes a productive center, maybe even a defensive force!
But that day isn’t soon, and it might be never. The Celtics used the 22nd pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft to select a center who averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds last season. Who sat in the middle of a 2-3 zone and might not know the first thing about hedging, switching, rotations or individual post defense.
STOP, JAY! HE HAS POSITIVES, TOO!
But Doc Rivers said the Celtics will need to teach Melo how to work. How am I supposed to feign happiness with the Celtics’ draft pick, when he’s a first-round selection who — allow me to repeat myself (my name is Hov?) — NEEDS TO BE TAUGHT HOW TO WORK! Shouldn’t his parents have taken care of that, like, decades ago? Why is Kevin Garnett always charged with turning meek young puppies into roaring lions? Why can’t the Celtics just acquire big men with scowls already in place who don’t need to be taught the intricacies of the center position — including defensive rotations, a proper work ethic and the details of boxing out, but also those essential minutiae like “always headbutt the basket stanchion five minutes prior to tipoff” and “constantly wear a facial expression like you just received a pastry filled with semen and want to murder the person who gave it to you”?
Why select a project who needs so much time? And if the Celtics were going to select someone with unfulfilled potential, why not Perry Jones?
Take a deep breath. That pastry metaphor was gross. Plus, Melo has a lot of upside.
So does Jones.
But Jones isn’t a center.
Right. He’s a 6-foot-11 wing with a 42-inch vertical. My bad.
Damn. Maybe you’re right.
No! You’re not right! Melo is big! He, um, blocks shots! He has a 9-foot-2 standing reach, the second-best figure in the draft! He’s great at scoring when nobody’s defending him! Look at his highlights! Did you see the 360 dunk? The only other 7-footer who would try that in a game is Javale McGee! And he’d probably miss it fantastically!
Well, those highlights ARE pretty intriguing. Melo takes charges, too. Find another 7-footer who does that. Plus, Garnett is the best possible mentor, even though he might retire and part of me fears that Melo’s the type of person who would turn down KG’s advice at the first practice and be shunned for the rest of eternity.
But yeah, those highlights are nice and Melo has a pretty wide frame for a 7-footer with such athleticism. Hell, he hasn’t even played basketball for a very long time. He used to be a soccer player, kind of like that dude — you might remember him, only because he worked out LeBron James and all — Hakeem Olajuwon. Maybe Melo won’t become an All-Star any time
ever soon, but he could certainly become serviceable and maybe even pretty good! At No. 22, remember, nobody expects a star. Melo’s at least someone with game-changing potential.
Now you’re getting it. Optimism!
I think you’re right.
But fuck. He couldn’t even score eight points per game last season.
Fine. On the bright side, development remains entirely possible.
Somebody put Melo on a direct flight to whatever cave KG hides in for the offseason and have him shadow the 17-year vet this summer. As Rivers said last night, this kid needs to learn the Celtic way.