The Maine Red Claws moved to 2-0 on the season after beating Fort Wayne in a high scoring affair Sunday night. The Red Claws have got off to a nice start this season, but the same cannot be said for the one their star players, Fab Melo, who is on assignment from the Boston Celtics.
Melo's stat line in the Red Claws opening game left many scratching their heads. He finished with 2 points, 1 rebound and 4 blocks. Melo's 4 blocks were the lone bright spot, but it wasn't enough to overshadow his productivity, or lack there of, elsewhere on the court. Melo did rebound somewhat in the Red Claws win on Sunday night, scoring 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting, grabbing 3 rebounds and tallying 1 block.
Rather than having Melo, who the Boston Celtics selected 22nd overall in this year's draft, put up these type of numbers in a pressure cooker environment such as Boston, the Celtics have made the right call in having Melo develop his game with their D-League affiliate. The Celtics and Melo will ultimately benefit by letting the raw and athletically gifted player work out the kinks in the Portland Exposition Arena rather than the TD Bank Garden.
NBA teams are recognizing the luxury they have with the ability to assign players similar to Melo to their D-League affiliates. There have been 15 assignments so far this season including 12 players, and 7 different D-League teams have been the landing spots for these talented and coveted assignees.
As Maine's season continues look for Melo to establish himself as a key contributor for the team, a player with his kind of talent and skills was recognized by one of the NBA's most storied franchises for a reason. If Melo needs more time in the D-League than the C's were expecting, they will likely embrace it rather than be concerned. The fact that Boston now has a hybrid single affiliate to allow them the ability to develop special players such as Melo certainly doesn't hurt either.
With Melo, Boston is looking to hopefully add a level of depth to their front line. As long as he can continue to improve his interior fundamentals while allowing his crazy athleticism to shine in a positive manner, the Celtics will have a nice piece to add to their front court later this season.