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#pounditSaturday, June 3, 2023

Jared Sullinger’s back red-flagged by doctors; Celtics still willing to gamble on him?

With the NBA draft a little over a week away, Jared Sullinger‘s draft stock could be taking a serious hit.

The Ohio State big man was evaluated at the draft combine last week by NBA doctors, and they have reportedly red-flagged the back of Sullinger, who previously missed a pair of games in December because of back spasms. ESPN’s Chad Ford has more:

A number of NBA team doctors have reviewed the information from the NBA and have told their front office staff that Sullinger’s back issues could shorten his NBA career, and some have advised their teams not to draft him in the first round.

Last year, Sullinger was a potential top-five pick. This year, he’s dropped a bit, thanks in part to the influx of other talented prospects also in the draft class, but was recently still projected as a lottery pick. But now he could probably see his stock continue to drop.

Naturally, those close to Sullinger, including his father and Ohio State coach Thad Matta, have downplayed the concerns about his back. Even still, this report might be enough for Sullinger to fall on NBA teams’ boards. Well, maybe except for the Celtics. Here’s Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico:

Jared Sullinger has been red-flagged by NBA doctors, who cited concerns with his back, and most GMs feel that it will, in fact, cause his draft stock to slide. Sullinger’s lack of overall athleticism already had created some doubts, and perceived medical issues certainly won’t help. That said, the Celtics reportedly wouldn’t mind giving him a shot, and might look to trade up (if necessary) to do so. Right now, they own the Nos. 21 and 22 picks in the first round.

Celtics fans are probably thrilled a possible rebuilding effort in a potential post-Big Three era will at least partly revolve around a guy with a possible bad back.

Photo: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE


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