FanPost

Fab Melo and the NBA

Another FanPost is dedicated to debating Kris Joseph's NBA prosects and we've all been talking about where Dion Waiters will go. But what about Fab? Nothing had been said about whether or not he'll attempt to make it through a third college season, but most think he'll head for the draft as well. What are his prospects?

By way of an answer, I have two words: Hasheem Thabeet. Hasheem Thabeet was a second overall pick. Now, I'll admit that I'm biased toward any Orange player and against any UConn player, but to me, this is one of those cases where a statistical comparison is completely backwards. Looking at the numbers, it would seem like Thabeet was the superior player, even taking into account the fact that he played more minutes than Fab. But, just looking at them, I don't think there's any question that Fab is, and will be, the better big man. Call it a gut feeling, call it instinct, call it fan-blinded stupidity. But every time I think about where Fab could go in the upcoming draft, I say to myself, "Hasheem Thabeet was a top five pick".

Of course a lot of it has to do with the draft class. There was a dearth of high quality centers in the 2009 draft, so Thabeet at #2 isn't totally out there. The 2012 draft will likely feature Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson, Perry Jones III, Tyler Zeller and whatever other top shelf bigs I'm forgetting. All of these players are better right now than Fab. So, the question becomes what is his potential? We've seen how much he improved over just once summer, simply by losing some weight. With professional level-coaching, he could improve twice as much in the same time. Plus, he already has certain skills and instincts that most big men never learn. How long did it take Dwight Howard to develop a jump shot? Fab has that. Anthony Davis might be a better shot blocker, but I doubt he's taken even half the charges Fab has. A guy like Sullinger or Zeller is what he is. He might hone his game and adapt it to fit the NBA style of play, but is unlikely to get much better. Fab has potential to grow.

All of this is speculative, of course. After all, the aforementioned Thabeet was a monumental bust. But the NBA draft is all about potential, especially when it comes to bigs. Ask one Bismack Biyambo. Will NBA execs be able to pass up an athletic 7 footer who can block shots and take charges in equal measure? Or will they see a guy that's already 22 as a college sophomore and who didn't produce as much as his size and athleticism should have allowed?

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