Jared Sullinger could have been a top five draft pick had had entered the NBA Draft one year ago. Instead, Sullinger decided to stay at Ohio State for one more year and nearly reached the NCAA National Championship Game. However, it appears as if his decision to stay may have cost him dearly, as doctors have red flagged Sullinger due to back problems.
Despite the reassurances of people close to Sullinger, including his father and coach at Ohio State, many are expecting Sullinger's draft stock to plummet, possibly dropping him out of the first round entirely. That opens the door for some teams, like the Boston Celtics, to draft the former projected lottery pick with their two selections late in the first round.
Boston is in desperate need of productive big men as it begins to transition away from the Big Three era, and Sullinger certainly fits that mold. Sullinger averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds this year in his sophomore season. His numbers were similar in his sophomore year, as he averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 54.1 percent.
Sullinger's back was put to the test at the NBA Draft Combine, leading doctors to alert teams to consider bypassing him early in the draft. While all teams, the Celtics included, should consider the doctors' advice, Sullinger is too talented for a team with a specific need for a big man to pass up. We're talking about a guy who could have been the top pick last year. Health concerns aside, if Sullinger is healthy, he is exactly what Boston needs.
If he should fall down the draft board, don't be surprised to see Danny Ainge make Sullinger the newest member of the Celtics with either the No. 21 or No. 22 overall pick in the draft.
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