Profiling the NBA Draft, late 1st Round: Fab Melo

In addition to the 4th overall pick on June 28th, the Cleveland Cavaliers also own the 24th, 33rd, and 34th selections. In a continued look at who could be available in the late first round / early second for the Cavs, below is our latest on Fab Melo from Syracuse. 

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No. 23 – Fab Melo, Sophomore, Syracuse; 2011-12 stats: 7.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 56% shooting

Syracuse's Fab Melo (51), of Brazil, shoots over Cincinnati's Justin Jackson (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Big East Conference tournament in New York, Friday, March 9, 2012.
When Syracuse announced Fab Melo was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament this season, it pretty much marked the end of his career for the Orange. He was the anchor of Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. Melo has potential, All-Star potential possibly, but it may take a few years for him to reach it. Almost all of Melo’s positive skills come on the defensive end.

As one of the few legit seven footers in the draft, the scouts love his defensive presence that he brings to the table. He clearly has great size and is athletic enough to keep up defensively. He is a great rebounder and solid shot blocker. He will have no problem translating that to defensive success in the NBA. For a guy his size, he also has great mobility. When he is motivated, he can be a real force. He is able to run the floor well and finish at the rim on the break. But after that, his offensive skills really drop off.

Melo is a project on the offensive end and most people know it. It is kind of puzzling to know he is one of the rare seven footers in college hoops, yet he was only able to muster up 7.8 points a game. He has no go-to post move and was wildly inconsistent. Most of his baskets came from cuts to the basket and offensive put backs. He also had issues with academic eligibility this past season. It might not be a huge deal in the NBA, but I would imagine teams would prefer a player who is able to stay academically eligible during the season.

In all the mock drafts I have looked at, the majority have Melo landing in Cleveland. I wouldn’t mind that either. Let’s be realistic, Anderson Varejao plays so hard that his body is breaking down. We all saw our lack of depth at the center position last season. Melo will take some time to develop offensively, no doubt, but he could come in and be a solid contributor defensively.

I am sure he would also benefit from being on the court with Kyrie Irving as well. Another thing to consider; Zydrunas Ilguaskas is in the Cavs front office. A couple of years working with Z and we could really have a surprise on our hands with the twenty-fourth overall pick. 

Our previous posts in this series on Andrew Nicholson, Will Barton, Draymond Green, Jeff Taylor, Evan Fournier, Royce White, and Quincy Miller can be found herehereherehere here, here and here.


Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.