But Melo finally started to get it. And get it, he did.
Melo posted a triple-double on December 22nd, scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds…and get this: swatting 14 shots! He followed that up with a 32 point, nine rebound, and nine block performance on December 26th.
The Boston Celtics recalled him.
But don’t get the impression that they did so to play him minutes at the NBA level. Melo is day-to-day with a concussion, and Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston claimed via Twitter that the recall was done mostly so that Melo could receive adequate treatment for the concussion—rather than so that Melo could help fill the void in the paint that the Celtics have suffered from with their dearth of big men.
Celtics recall Fab Melo. Guess here is it’s procedural in order to be treated by training staff for concussion he sustained.
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) January 2, 2013
Nevertheless, Melo showed some of the dominance that Rivers said he would. And that’s a good sign. There’s also the possibility that Forsberg was wrong, and that the Celtics could be priming Melo for something bigger.
After all, how many guys swat 14 shots in a game—at any level?
Coming into the NBA, that was Melo’s greatest strength: an ability to be a game changer on the defensive end. Syracuse faltered in the NCAA tournament because they missed Melo’s shot blocking, as he was ruled ineligible for March Madness (for circumstances that never became completely clear).
Now, after healing from the concussion, could Melo start swatting away the shots of players in the world’s best league?
We’re not ruling that possibility out.