All About 18: The Rookies Jared and Fab

Last June the Boston Celtics went into the draft with back-to-back first-round picks and a need for some size.  They managed to select a pair of talented bigs in 6'9" Jared Sullinger (at #21) from Ohio St. and 7'0" Fab Melo (#22) from Syracuse, both of whom were at some point considered lottery to mid-first round picks.  But because of some pre-draft concerns about the two, both Sullinger and Melo went from being Green Room candidates to (luckily for us) Green Team members.

Sullinger's lottery fall was attributed to a pre-draft medical report in which NBA doctors indicated a red flag on a lower back bulging disc issue (funny misspoken reportage about it here).  The issue, the report said, may shorten Sullinger's career and while this is not a certainty, the red flag caused enough concern to scare teams off of taking him higher in the draft.  But no doubt, Jared's a lottery-worthy talent.  In two seasons at Ohio State, he averaged 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 1.1 steals in 31 minutes per game.  At the summer leagues, he proved that his college stats were no fluke by posting averages of 13.8 ppg and 8.3 rpg (in Orlando) and 11.2 ppg and 8.6 rpg (in Las Vegas) in just roughly 27 minutes of action per outing.

Melo, on the other hand, was ranked as one of the top three or four centers entering the '12 draft and was projected to go as high as the middle of the first round.  The Big East Defensive Player of the Year is a legitimate 7-footer with a remarkable 9'2" standing reach and outstanding shot-blocking skills.  In his sophomore season at Syracuse, Melo averaged 7.8 points (on 56.6% FG), 5.8 rebounds and 2.93 blocks (ranked 11th in the nation) in 25.4 minutes per game. The knock on Melo's game, however, comes on the offensive end where a solid post game has yet to develop.  It didn't help his draft stock either that the Orange ruled him ineligible twice during the season due to poor academics.  But the Brazil-born and raised Fab is still mastering both the game of basketball and the English language and whatever shortcomings he exhibited in the past year were attributed to the function on a learning curve.  "It was academic," Melo explained during a pre-draft interview.  "(Reporters) ask, I explain (what) happened - that I came from another country and until four years ago didn't even speak English."

Whatever reasons Sullinger and Melo dropped in the draft are moot at this point.  They are here.  They are Celtics.  And they are ready to contribute on the drive for #18.  That's what it's all about.