Nicolo Melli, a player “for all seasons”

2017-07-12T10:54:29+00:00 2017-07-12T10:54:29+00:00.

Aris Barkas

12/Jul/17 10:54

Fenerbahce are going through a strange summer. They may have become the first Turkish team to win the EuroLeague, but they already know that next season they’re going to have to go without their best player, Bogdan Bogdanovic who is Sacramento-bound.

By Panos Katsiroumpas/

Of course, the Turks aren’t going to waste too much time lamenting the loss, since they have secured very large budgets for the next years after the deal they made with the Dogus group. This enables them to go after the best they can find on the European market.

In this context, they’ve already acquired one of the most improved and sought after players of the summer. We are talking, of course, about Nicolo Melli, who, after two amazing seasons with Bamberg, cashed in his performances by agreeing with Fenerbahce to play under the instructions of Zeljko Obradovic.

Who he is

The Italian forward was born in 1991 and is 2.06 m tall. He was born in an area of Italy where basketball is quite big and his first team was that city’s team, Pallacanestro Reggiana, or Reggio Emilia, as most of us know it nowadays.

That’s where he stood out and, from a young age, started joining the ranks and the young squads of the Italian national team. After the buzz that started to be created around his name, Olimpia Milan – who, to this day, gather most of the talents of Italian basketball – couldn’t remain idle.

He stayed in Milan for five years, but, for most of them, he had the misfortune of being a member of teams that relied more on foreign players and that, in general, didn’t have principles in their game. Melli saw that his competitive outbreak wasn’t meant to come at home and in 2015 he was forced to follow an Italian coach to Germany and more specifically, to Bamberg.

That’s where the Italian really shifted gears. In a team with great principles and direction in their game, but also with an excellent coach on their bench, Melli upped his performance levels and shined throughout Europe. After two years in Bamberg, he came to be considered one of the best forwards in the EuroLeague, and his move to Fener seems like the culmination of his efforts.

One of the best two-way forwards

In Trinchieri’s hands, Melli evolved on both ends of the court. He improved in every area and now he can rightfully be characterized as one of the best two-way forwards in Europe.

He improved visibly in defense, both in terms of his positioning and perception, but also in one-on-one marking. He can read plays well and provide help wherever that is necessary, while he formed an impenetrable duo with Daniel Theis in the 4 and 5 positions in the department of switching defenses. Besides, it’s no coincidence that he was chosen by a coach who won the EuroLeague last season while relying on the switch-all defense.

A complete offensive player

Aside from defense, the Italian became a complete offensive player, better at rebounding, and he also learned how to use and master his body extremely well.

Of course, he was helped in this by Bamberg’s offensive planning, since they wanted all the players to be in constant motion, with screens and threatening to shoot from everywhere.

In this way, Melli did a lot of different things on the court, something that made him more complete as a player too. There were times he played as a five, although most of the time he played in the four position. Trinchieri’s playing style helped him to the fullest extent. Many times, he was the player that screened and then dived in the pick-and-roll, while in other plays he functioned as a threat from mid-range. From there he could put the ball on the floor, pass or attempt a shot with ease. Overall, the range of ways in which he can be a threat is wide, as he can shoot with ease but also good percentages from behind the 6.75 line.

He moves very well and he mostly likes playing face to face. He won’t have any trouble taking his opponent to the post, but when that opponent is as strong as him, he can make it hard for him to finish the play.

Overall, if we could spot a disadvantage that would be his aggressiveness from the post, but this is clearly something that he can perform better in if he works on it.

All told, he’s a player that could fit in with any team, since he has a wide variety both in his defensive as well as his offensive game. It’s just that he can definitely be more efficient in a team where he has a role, something that he found in Bamberg and will probably find in Fenerbahce as well, the team that hit the bull’s-eye with their choice.