Yesterday Jared Sullinger was red flagged by some NBA doctors due to his back and they say it could shorten his career in the NBA. He's considered a lottery pick in next week's draft and with this news he might slip down to the Pacers at 26. After the jump, check out the risks and possible positives if he's taken by the Pacers.
I bring the question to you, would you draft Sullinger if he slips all the way down to 26?
This whole Sullinger situation reminds me of DeJuan Blair from the 2009 draft. He had knee issues and that caused him to the second round where the San Antonio Spurs finally took him off the board. Alex Kennedy from HoopsWorld even said the Pacers were about to pick Blair before the injury scared them off.
Check below what Kennedy had to say back in 2009:
The Right Pick, After All?
Right up until the final seconds before the Indiana Pacers made their pick in the 2009 NBA Draft their pick was DeJuan Blair. Then, as the last few seconds ticked away and their decision had to be made, they allowed medical reports about Blair's knees to scare them away, and they chose Tyler Hansbrough with the 13th overall pick instead. The Pacers weren't alone, either, as so many teams were scared off by those medical reports concerning Blair that he dropped all the way to the San Antonio Spurs with the 37th overall pick.
Last year it looked like the Pacers had made a huge mistake; after all, Blair appeared in all 82 games for the Spurs, even starting 23 times, while Hansbrough missed all but 29 games as he battled various injuries. Had the Pacers over-analyzed their pick?
Fast forward another year. Blair fell out of grace late in the season in San Antonio, though injuries have never been an issue. He improved a little across the board on the season, but not remarkably. Meanwhile, Hansbrough benefited from a mid-season coaching change that landed him in the starting lineup, where he would stay for the rest of the season and through the playoffs. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds as a starter and proved he deserves to be the team's starting four going forward.
''The guy is a big-time competitor - big-time,'' Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said during his team's first round series against Chicago. ''I'm glad he's on my team.''
Indeed, Vogel's faith in Hansbrough was one of the reasons he earned the job as interim coach when Jim O'Brien was fired mid-season. Pacers management wanted to see more of Hansbrough, and Vogel was happy to oblige. For his part, Hansbrough's hard work on and off the court kept him in the starting lineup, taking full advantage of his opportunity.
There's no question that DeJuan Blair would have been a solid pick had the Pacers made him the 13th overall selection in 2009. There's also no question that he was easily the steal of that same draft as the 37th overall pick. That said, it may just be that the concerns over Blair's knees, justified or not, pushed the Pacers to make an even better, perhaps even lucky, pick with 13. The Pacers believe Hansbrough is one of their foundational pieces as they look to become a perennial playoff team once again . . .and all indications are that they're absolutely right.
That means Bird isn't afraid to at least kick the tires and possibly take a risk with a red flagged player. If Sullinger falls to the Pacers and they select him, he will have a big chip on his shoulder.
Sullinger embraces contact in the paint and isn't afraid to get down and dirty with anyone on the court. He also has a nice touch around the basket. Sullinger uses his thick frame to box out defenders and excels at rebounding on both the defensive and offensive side. Sullinger is a true banger that could frustrate opposing players. He has an outstanding basketball IQ that could put him ahead of many rookies in this year's draft.
We get to the bad, and I mean bad for Sullinger. He was horrendous at the NBA Draft Combine. He was a bottom feeder in most of the drills with speed and athleticism involved and as mentioned before, he was red flagged by team doctors with a back issue.
A New Orleans Hornets ESPN Truehoop blog Hornets247 tweeted this yesterday that brings even more scare to teams about Sullinger.
Told by 2 scouts that the concern stems from the fact that one leg is significantly shorter than the other & he will always have back issues
That's scary right there. The leg turns out to be about three inches shorter than the other one as a scout told Hornets 247 which could cause chronic back troubles for years to come.
Sullinger is an unimpressive athlete as he showed at the NBA Draft Combine. He forces a lot of shots down low which could be very annoying to fans and coaches alike.
Personally, I've watched Sullinger play a lot on TV and he hasn't impressed me much at all. He tends to force up a lot of shots as mentioned earlier and he just doesn't have that potential to be a top big man in the league.
ESPN's Chad Ford had Sullinger at number ten in his last mock draft, but he released a new one today that has him falling all the way down to 20 to the Denver Nuggets with the recent news. It's a new trend that Sullinger is slipping drastically in all of the new mock drafts.
Now I bring the question to you guys, would you draft Jared Sullinger if he slips all the way down to 26? It could pay off big time or it could could be a major bust with being red flagged by team doctors. If he's there, would you take him? Vote on the poll below and comment about if you would take Sullinger at 26.