Over/Under: Fab Melo
Today's target: Rookie center Fab Melo.
Games Played: 41
* Forsberg: Under. While I think the 7-foot Melo has potential to see the floor more than many expect because of his pure size (think Greg Stiemsma 2.0 -- minus the blocks -- if he can show he won't be a defensive liability), I'm still going under because he's so raw. It will be interesting to see if he can work his way into more consistent minutes -- even in small bunches -- by season's end.
* Payne: Under. Unless Chris Wilcox or (gulp) Kevin Garnett goes down for an extended period of time, Melo will be riding the pine or starting for the Maine Red Claws.
* Forsberg: Under. While Melo's numbers in the rebounds-per-36-minutes category will look better, bite-sized chunks of playing time will likely drive down his overall per-game numbers. And let's face it, Melo isn't the best pure rebounder, but he should still be able to clean the glass assuming he doesn't have a case of MarkBlountitis.
* Payne: Under. Rebounding's an area Melo needs to improve in in general, and he probably won't see the court enough to make any real strides in that area this season.
Field Goal percentage: 55.0
* Forsberg: Under. Melo clearly needs to hone his offensive game and it's hard to imagine him being terribly consistent with his shot in his first NBA season. Greg Stiemsma had a nice little 12-foot jumper to complement his inside game, and even he shot 54.5 percent last season. Melo did shoot 57.6 percent over two seasons at Syracuse.
* Payne: Under. Melo's minutes, if he earns any, will likely be sparse, and he won't be expected to contribute much on the offensive end. His only hope is Rajon Rondo getting him easy looks under the basket.
Points per game: 2.5
* Forsberg: Under. As mentioned with the rebounds-per-game prediction, the guess here is that limited early season minutes will make it tough for Melo to really distinguish himself statistically (particularly on the offensive end). If he can become an 8- or 10-minute per game type player down the road, that sort of offensive production will take care of itself.
* Payne: Under. Melo's still too raw offensively, and if he does find consistent minutes, he won't be any sort of focal point of the offense. Offensive rebounding and putbacks, along with Rondo's nifty passing will be his best chances to accrue points.
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