The Dallas Mavericks‘ 2013 offseason was spent trying to fill the defensive holes from last year’s team. After failing to sign Dwight Howard, they eventually were able to grab Sam Dalembert and convince him to walk away from the Milwuakee Bucks. Obviously the Mavericks knew they would need to fill in pieces behind Dalembert so they signed several other players to help out. Brandan Wright was brought back to Dallas.
One of the players they signed, though, was Fab Melo. The 23-year-old played with the Boston Celtics some last year but spent most of the season with the Maine Red Claws - Boston’s team in the NBA D-League. Melo only played in six games for Boston last season and was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis waived Melo, who was eventually signed by the Mavericks.
Melo, originally from Florida, is a 7-foot center who played his college ball at Syracuse. He was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and he owns the record for the most blocked shots in an NBA D-League game with 14. He was also named to the D-League All Rookie First Team and the All-Defensive First Team last season.
Melo only played two years in college but his sophomore season he averaged 7.8 points per game and 5.8 rebounds. These are the type of numbers that the Mavericks could use from their center position. With Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis able to handle the scoring load, they don’t need a lot of offensive production. However, the Mavericks struggled with rebounding and protecting the rim last season. Coach Rick Carlisle has emphasized defense from day one of training camp. Bringing in a player like Melo can only help to drive the defensive mindset home.
Greg Higgins is Dallas Mavericks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @greghiggins457