Melo ready, willing to learn from Garnett


Melo ready, willing to learn from Garnett

ALLSTON, Mass. Training camp is months away, but the Kevin Garnett School for Big Men is already in session.

Shortly after the Celtics drafted Syracuse University center Fab Melo with the No. 22 pick in last months NBA draft, Garnett wasted no time reaching out to him.

I want to learn from him. Hes an energy guy. I have a lot of energy for the game, too, said Melo, who along with the Celtics other two draft picks (Jared Sullinger and second-round pick Kris Joseph) was at the Jackson MannHorace Mann Education Complex. With my passion and his passion for the game, I think well do great things.

Garnett, a free agent this summer, has agreed to a three-year deal worth about 34 million.

His return to the floor bodes well not only for the Celtics this season in terms of what he brings to the floor. It also benefits the next generation of Celtics players -- players like Melo who for now at least, is receptive to Garnetts teachings.

In recent years, Boston has added a number of big men who have all bought into Garnetts teachings.

Its not a coincidence that a player like Semih Erden for example, never had quite as much success elsewhere as he did with the Celtics.

KG, he helped me a lot when I was in Boston, Erden told He talk. He teach. He helped me become a better player.

Erden was traded in the middle of his rookie season to Cleveland. With the Cs, he averaged 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds while appearing in 37 games (7 starts). With the Cavs, both his scoring and rebounding numbers were down despite being with a weaker team.

And while Melo has yet to have his first practice with Garnett, he has been warned about how quickly Garnett tunes young players out if theyre not ready to listen and work hard because in Garnetts mind, the two go hand-in-hand.

Celtics second-year forward JuJuan Johnson heard similar warnings after the Celtics drafted him in the first round last year.

Johnson made a point of trying to soak in any and all of Garnetts teachings.

And KG responded by sharing tips on and off the court, on bus rides to the various arenas and on plane rides from city to city.

KG has been great for me, Johnson told near the end of this past season. He says a lot of really good things, but he doesnt just talk. He goes out there and puts in the time to get better. You see a guy as good as he is, still trying to get better, it makes you want to work that much harder. You want to do well for yourself, but you dont want to let him or any of your teammates down, either.

Melos departure from Syracuse was anti-climatic with him being suspended for the Oranges postseason run which ended at the hands of Ohio State and the Cs other first-round pick, Jared Sullinger.

For Melo, that is in the past now, a situation he can do nothing to change.

Now, the focus is on trying to become the best professional player he can be. And a big part of that process begins with listening to Garnett, who is already in the rookies ear.

Im ready, Melo told Im ready for it. I cant want to be out there with my new teammates, learning from KG. Its going to be fun.

He says that now . . .

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”