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Kris Joseph and Fab Melo together at Syracuse.One of the more common adjectives used to describe Celtics rookie center Fab Melo is "raw." A late arriver to the sport of basketball, the Brazilian 7-footer spent only two years at Syracuse before Boston snagged him with the 22nd overall pick in June's draft.
The potential is obvious, but so too are the strides necessary to get his game ready for the NBA level. Celtics second-round pick Kris Joseph, a teammate of Melo's at Syracuse, has seen his development up close, including as two transition to the pro level. So what's his take on Melo's progress?
"He's making strides," said Joseph. "He's in better shape, he's trimmed down tremendously. He's a guy I've been with for two years, and I remember his jump from his freshman year to his sophomore year, and he puts in a lot of work that people may not see all the time. But I was there, personally, and I saw the hard work that he puts in and his dedication to the game. So, since summer league, he's really been doing well, pick-and-rolling like they want him to, dunking, blocking shots. He's doing all the things necessary to win basketball games."
Of course, there have been growing pains. Well-documented growing pains, in fact. Celtics newcomer Courtney Lee recently posted a video to Twitter that appeared to show him dunking hard on Melo in a pick-up game. Someone present for recent informal workouts confirmed that it wasn't the only time Melo's been posterized after a late rotation.
But Joseph said that Melo has had his own highlight moments as well, even if no Twitter evidence exists.
"Fab dunked on me three times," admitted Joseph. "I was late on a couple rotations. But I got him back [Thursday]. Real good. For game point. Yeah, I dunked on him [Thursday]."
Teammate dunks are not Melo's only problem this summer. At rookie orientation, he had a run-in with a malfunctioning folding chair (poor kid, every time something bad happens someone has a video camera to document it). Joseph said Melo kept a sense of humor about the blooper moment.
"I didn't tell him too much about it. He told me before I could tell him," said Joseph. "But when I saw the footage, it was funnier than what he said. He played it down a little bit, but that footage was pretty funny."